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Blessed by trees

POSTED: October 26, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Dawson County is blessed with beautiful trees.We are reminded of their beauty each fall as leaves change from green to yellows and reds. Trees do much more than add color to our world. They provide shade, reduce erosion of soil and help clean our air. 


It is with the positive assets of trees in mind that the Dawson County Tree Preservation Committee, the Georgia Forestry Commission, and Keep Dawson County Beautiful have joined together for the second year to recognize Champion Trees of Dawson County.


The Champion Tree Program is based on size. Georgia Forestry Commission personnel will measure nominated trees and compare their measurements to other recorded trees of the same variety.


The Champion Tree Program will recognize the winning trees, the nominators and their owners. The recognition will take place during the next Arbor Day celebration at Rock Creek Park. Nomination forms may be picked up at the Dawson County office of the Georgia Forestry Commission or the Dawson County Extension Office.


For more information, call the Forestry Commission Office at (706) 265-3707 or the Dawson County Extension Office at (706) 265-2442.


While I am writing about native trees, let me end this article by suggesting a few for your landscape.


Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum).


• Grows 60-80 feet tall, spreads 25-40 feet.


• Slow to medium rate of growth.


• Native to mountain valleys and slopes only in North Georgia and northwards.


• Should be used only in the northern half of the state.


• Does best in good soils with adequate moisture especially during drought.


• Mulching is very beneficial to the tree by keeping the roots cool.


• Place in full sun to partial shade.


• The most outstanding features are the form of the plant and its beautiful red-orange fall foliage color.


• Should be readily available.


• Pest free.


River Birch (Petula nigra).


• Grows 50-60 feet tall, spreads 40-50 feet.


• Fast rate of growth. 


• Native to moist to wet areas throughout the eastern United States, common along stream banks.


• Can be used throughout the state.


• Tolerates most soil types and grows in sun to partial shade.


• Requires adequate moisture throughout the year.


• Useful for problem wet areas.


• Outstanding feature is the exfoliating (peeling) two-tone tan and copper bark.


• Very showy in an otherwise bleak landscape.


• Can be grown as single stem tree, but is very showy as a multiple-stemmed (clump) birch.


• The variety ‘Heritage’ has a whiter exfoliating bark, more showy.


• Pest free.


Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum).


• Grows to 30-40 feet tall and 15-30 feet wide.


• Found throughout the state except for the low wet southeast corner.


• It is particularly in abundance in the Piedmont and mountain areas.


• Its best qualities include showy clusters of small white bell-shaped flowers in late June.


• It is “famous” as an aromatic source of nectar for honey.


• Fall color is an excellent red.


• It prefers full sun, good soils and adequate moisture.


It is important to remember that care must be taken when transplanting any trees. The best time to transplant trees is in the coldest part of winter.


For additional information, contact the Dawson County Extension Office at (706) 265-2442.


Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent.


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