Common Trees in Georgia

May 1, 2024
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The Diverse Trees of Georgia

Georgia is home to a remarkably wide variety of tree species due to its range of climates and elevations across the state. Majestic oaks, stately pines, dazzling maples and many other trees thrive in Georgia’s temperate environment and provide abundant beauty and utility.

Oak Trees

The oak is the official Georgia state tree. Georgia has a higher diversity of oak species than any other state, with over 90 species represented.

  • White Oak – A classic shade tree with horizontally spreading branches and lobed leaves with rounded tips. Provides great fall color.

  • Live Oak – An iconic evergreen oak with a broad, rounded crown. Its lumber is highly valued.

  • Southern Red Oak – A fast growing oak valued for its brilliant red fall foliage. Provides great shade.

Oak trees are found statewide, but especially in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions. They provide excellent shade, help control erosion, host wildlife with their acorns, and the wood is used widely in construction and for firewood.

Pine Trees

Pines are the most common tree in Georgia’s forests, covering around 60% of forested areas in the state. They thrive on well-drained sandy and acidic soils.

  • Loblolly Pine – The most commercially important southern pine in Georgia forests and the one most actively replanted.

  • Shortleaf Pine – Tolerates a variety of sites and soils. Resin was once harvested from these.

  • Longleaf Pine – A long-lived pine with great utility and wildlife value. Their range is now reduced.

Pine trees provide important timber products, host wildlife, help rehabilitate degraded land and provide scenic beauty. Trees like longleaf pine are also culturally and ecologically significant. Georgia’s pine trees contribute billions to the state economy.

Other Notable Georgia Trees

Beyond oaks and pines, many other tree species thrive in Georgia:

  • Flowering Dogwood – A small understory tree beloved for its early white or pink flower bracts.

  • Southern Magnolia – A classic symbol of the South with its huge white flowers and scarlet seed cones. Grows statewide.

  • Black Cherry – Produces dark red edible cherries. The wood is used commercially.

  • American Sycamore – Gigantic shade tree that spreads by underground suckers to form handsome groves along rivers.

  • Eastern Red Cedar – A dense evergreen tree used ornamentally and also cultivated for its rot-resistant lumber.

Caring for Georgia Trees

  • Water new trees thoroughly but infrequently to build deep roots.

  • Apply mulch to protect surface roots and retain moisture.

  • Prune broken branches properly and have trees inspected periodically.

  • Consider native species adapted to Georgia’s climate when planting.

In exchange for proper care, Georgia trees provide abundant rewards – beauty, shade, erosion control, water purification, wildlife habitat and wood products among them. Our trees are an invaluable state treasure to be protected.

Protecting Georgia’s Woodlands

Georgia contains an incredible bounty and diversity of trees which provide great utility and require active stewardship.

Georgia is home to diverse, beautiful forests and trees that enrich wildlife habitat and human communities alike. Protecting these woodlands requires promoting sustainable forestry techniques, upholding protections for heritage trees, swiftly addressing invasive pests and diseases, strategically planting native trees, and conserving undeveloped lands.

Through responsible harvesting practices and allowing natural processes to shape woodlands over time, we can sustain resilient community forests to benefit current and future generations of Georgians. Stewardship aims to safeguard our woodlands so that they survive and thrive for years to come.

Through personal initiative and policy support, Georgia’s forests and legendary trees can flourish for generations to come.