The Arkansas pine belt stretches from the southern Arkansas Delta to Texas, and it is in this mixture of hickories, oaks, and pines you can find the Loblolly Pine. The second most common species of tree in the United States, the Loblolly Pine prefers lowlands and swamps where it can reach a height of 115 feet. Its needles, bundled in groups of three, fall every two years making this evergreen a year-round beauty. The Arkansan homeowner will not be limited to this one pine, though. Arkansas is home to a diverse range of growing areas that provide moisture and warmth to a large contingent of trees.
Due to its divergent growing zones and nearby natural wonders, the smart Arkansan grower will need to consider the following; climate, soil type, average precipitation, irrigation, growing zones and weather damage.
Best Trees for Arkansas
Specific details about Arkansan climate and growing zones are located in the following sections, but if you’re looking for quick information on the best trees to plant in Arkansas, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
#1. Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree – Ideal for providing stunning beauty and shade.
#2. Tulip Poplar – Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
#3. American Red Maple – Ideal for providing classic American aesthetic, stunning fall colors, and shade.
#4. Red Haven Peach – Ideal for bearing fruit, adding color, and edible profits.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Arkansas
As property in Arkansas 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 Arkansas, 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.
Arkansas is best known for its humid subtropical climate. Wet, hot, and humid, Arkansas provides the ideal environment for several plants that rely on water and heat. Its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico has a large impact on the state, bringing city temperatures on average to a high of 93°F and an average low of 73°F in July. Winter brings some relief, with temperatures varying on average between 32°F and 51°F. Arkansas is best observed as two halves of the same state, with the northern half bordering on a humid continental climate. Though uncommon, snow mostly falls in the northern parts of the state, where the Ozark Mountains lie. In the southern parts of the state, ice storms are more frequent.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Arkansas contains diverse soil types that when mixed with its humid climate makes it ideal for growing trees. An Arkansan planter will most likely need to add loam and topsoil to their planting site. Regardless of the property’s location in Arkansas, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type:
In order to determine the type of soil in your yard, try this test to give you a basis for finding the best matched trees. For this test, you will need a healthy handful of soil from the layer beneath the topmost piece of soil. The soil should be a little damp, but not recently watered or wet. Simply squeeze the soil sample and one of the following events will occur.
1. You have CLAY if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it does not fall apart.
2. You have LOAM if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it falls apart.
3. You have SAND if, after opening your hands, the soil immediately collapses.
Once you know what soil type you have, you can find trees best suited to that dirt’s properties. Loam is the best soil to have, as its unique qualities make it ideal for holding and transferring water to trees.
Arkansas is known for its torrential thunderstorms and strong weather systems, so it is not surprising the average yearly rainfall totals as high as 49.57 inches. With such excessive rain, it is best to plan for flooding and swampy planting. Two horrific floods in 1927 and 1937 claimed many lives and caused much destruction to plants and property. More recently, flash flooding related to more southern hurricanes have caused uprooted trees and property damage.
One way to deal with flooding is to irrigate and divert water run-off to needy areas. Since Arkansas 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.
Arkansas is home to five distinct growing zones. In central peaks of the Ozark Mountains in the north, temperatures fall as low as -10°F. In the southern part of the state, bordering Louisiana, temperatures only reach down to 10°F. The five zones cover Arkansas in bands, with Little Rock falling in the central Zone 7b, where temperatures creep down to 5°F at different times of the year. Identify your zone and find the minimum temperature requirements your plants will need.
Arkansas suffers from proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, mountain ranges, and plains. Weather storms are frequent visitors to the state, where a typical year will see thunderstorms, hail storms, ice storms, and snow. Hurricane damage more dominant in the southern states adjacent to the Gulf will still cause damage in Arkansas. Tropical systems, which finish their lives in Arkansas also begin smaller weather systems, like tornadoes, which can wreak havoc throughout the state. As such, it is essential the Arkansan homeowner determine a safe distance at which to plant a tree and choose trees of a safe height for the frequent given local weather systems. Do not forget that trees can also prevent erosion, and with frequent flooding, they can be a great defense against large property damage.