Despite its hot, humid summers, the feathery and coniferous Longleaf Pine has remained the Alabama state tree since 1997. Only one other long-needled pine grows in the Heart of Dixie, making the Longleaf easy to identify with its long, twisted needles bunched into groups of three. Contrary to popular belief, Alabama’s forests are still dominated by pines. Alabaman homeowners, though, are not limited to this pine; indeed, they are gifted with a wide-selection of planting options for trees.
Due to its hot summers, diverse elevations, copious precipitation, and lengthy storm season, the smart Alabaman grower will need to consider the following; climate, soil type, average precipitation, irrigation, growing zones and weather damage.
Read about the specifics for your state below. If you’re looking for some quick hints, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
- Weeping Willow
Ideal for providing shade, sweeping beauty, and growth without minimal effort.
- American Red Maple
Ideal for providing classic American aesthetic, stunning fall colors, and shade.
- Red Haven Peach Tree
Ideal for bearing fruit, adding color, and edible profits.
- Willow Hybrid
Ideal for providing privacy, fast-growing properties, and easy care
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Alabama
As property in Alabama continues to be developed, land owners are searching for trees that will provide privacy from prying neighborly eyes and loud, unwanted noise. There are many fast growing privacy trees in Alabama, which will quickly grow after initial planting to afford your property and family long sought-after privacy.
The Thuja Green Giant, a staple of privacy trees throughout the United States, is a fast-growing pine that will quickly provide a barrier between you and your neighbors. Growing between 3-5 feet a year, the Thuja Green Giant will offer your yard classic French design with minimal hassle. Alternatively, the Leyland Cypress and American Holly will also add color and privacy to your yard’s perimeter.
Alabama’s location, adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and the tip of the Appalachian Trail, has an enormous impact on its overall climate. Averaging 64°F throughout the year, Alabama is classified as humid subtropical. The southern parts of the state are warmer and present a much larger growing season to planters, reaching up to 300 days in length. To the south Alabaman homeowner, this equates with a large variety of trees for planting, such as the Tulip Poplar, the Royal Empress, and Red Haven Pear. In the north, Alabama’s climate is driven by the cooling Appalachian Mountains. This confluence of climates means an informed Alabaman grower will need to identify their location within their state, and the climate requirements of their specific area, prior to choosing the best-suited trees.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. In central and western Alabaman, homeowners will likely find bama soil. Bama is the state soil of Alabama, and it has excellent drainage properties and rich marine and mineral deposits. Regardless of the property’s location in the Heart of Dixie, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type:
The test requires a handful of fresh soil from the layer just below the top. It should be damp but not wet. The tester should hold the soil in the palm of his/her hand and, not surprisingly, squeeze. The squeeze will produce one of three events.
1. The soil will hold its shape, likely forming a snake. If you touch the snake, the soil will maintain its original shape. You have CLAY.
2. The soil will hold its shape, likely forming a snake. If you touch the snake, the soil will collapse. You have LOAM.
3. The soil will fall apart as you open your hands. You have SAND.
Once you know what soil type you have, you can find trees best suited to the dirt’s properties. Loam is the best soil to have, as its unique qualities make it ideal for holding and transferring water to trees.
Due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama is one of the most profitable rain receivers in the United States. Averaging 56 inches of rain a year, Alabama growers will avoid most droughts and instead should worry about flooding. The rain from southern storms will travel upward and reach northern areas of the state as well, forcing all state inhabitants to plan accordingly.
One way to deal with flooding is to irrigate and divert water run-off to needy areas. Since Alabama is split into multiple regions, water needs will vary dramatically from the north to the south. As such, it is important to consider the precipitation you receive in your area and how to best use the resource. Regardless of the tree you plant, newly planted trees require consistent and frequent access to water. Examine your planting location to determine whether a working irrigation system is already in place (natural or man-made), or if you will need to create an above or below ground irrigation system to keep your plants healthy and strong.
Since Alabama sits between two large natural barriers, the Appalachian Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico, it carries five diverse growing zones. A growing zone simply refers to the USDA’s determination of areas where certain plants are most likely to thrive, preferring to focus on minimal temperature ranges in which a plant can survive. Zones 6b to 8b cover divergent temperature ranges. In small regions of the north, plants can survive slightly colder weather hardiness, surviving temperatures down to -5°F. In southern regions, plants are less hardy, only surviving to about 15°F.
One of the largest considerations to take into account before planting in Alabama are weather concerns. Alabama reports the most per annum tornado fatalities of any state in the nation. Additionally, thunderstorms, hailstorms, tropical storms, and even hurricanes are frequent visitors to the region. As such, the Alabaman homeowner should consider possible property damage from trees before purchasing those that soar in height. Consult with your horticulturist for safe distances from your home at which to plant the tree. Also, consider trees with sturdy limbs and hearty roots.