Although Louisiana goes by many nicknames, including the Bayou State, Child of Mississippi, and the Sugar State, it is officially referred to as The Pelican State. It is the unique Bald Cypress that represents Louisiana. A deciduous conifer, the Bald Cypress grows submerged in water to heights of 100 feet or more. Distinct cypress knees identify the trunks, which thicken and occasionally split prior to entering the water line. Since the Bald Cypress grows best in swampy regions, not every landowner will choose this tree. There are hundreds of other tree varieties that will grow well in The Pelican State.
Due to its geographical land features, severe weather, and varied temperatures, the smart Louisianan grower will need to consider the region’s climate, type of soil, irrigation needs, average precipitation, specific growing zone and weather damage.
Best Trees for Louisiana
Read about the specifics for your state in the following sections. If you’re looking for some quick ideas on what to plant, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
- Royal Empress Trees
Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
- Weeping Willow
Ideal for providing shade, sweeping beauty, and growth with minimal effort.
- Meyer Lemon Tree
Ideal for bearing fruit for delicious, edible profits, color, and adaptable qualities.
- Bloodgood Japanese Maple
Ideal for adding color, providing ornamental beauty, and no-hassle maintenance.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Louisiana
As property in Louisiana 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 Louisiana, which will quickly grow after initial planting to offer your property and family long sought-after privacy.
The Thuja Green Giant, a staple of privacy trees throughout Louisiana, 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.
Louisiana sits along the Mississippi River in the southern United States, along the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana rests soundly in the humid subtropical climate, more so than most of its neighbors. Summers are hot, humid, and lengthy while winter is brief and mild. The proximity of the Gulf of Mexico, no more than 200 miles away at the farthest point, is a large mitigating factor in this climate. Summers last from June to September, with hotter temperatures in the northern parts of the state furthest from the Gulf. While temperatures do get quite high in southern Louisiana, reaching into the high 90s and low 100s, northern Louisiana frequently sees days with temperatures over 105°F. Milder winters bring temperatures down to around 42°F throughout the state. The record low was set in 1899 at -16°F, but this is clearly rare.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Louisiana has 733,714 acres of Ruston soil, which is best used for growing small forests, cattle grazing, and crops. Ruston soil is a well-draining soil, rich with mineral and marine deposits. Still, they are low in fertility. Regardless of the property’s location in The Pelican State, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
The squeeze test is a tool pedologists (soil scientists) use to determine the type of soil in a given area. Remove the first layer of soil and grab a handful of damp (but not wet) dirt. Then, squeeze the soil in the palm of your hand. When you open your hand, the results will help you to determine your specific type of soil.
1. The squeezed soil holds its squeezed shape. If you poke it, the soil will still hold its squeezed shape. You have CLAY
2. The squeezed soil holds its squeezed shape. However, when you poke it the squeezed soil collapses. Congratulations, you have LOAM.
3. The soil collapses as soon 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.
Rainfall is plentiful in Louisiana, with annual precipitation levels throughout the state reaching up to 60 inches. Rain falls easily throughout the year, with the wettest months falling in the summer and the driest in the autumn. Snow occurs at least once a year, but typically no more than three times in a given season. During the winter, southern Louisiana receives extensive rainfall. Cold fronts also occur, occasionally dropping the temperature down below 20°F.
Effective irrigation throughout Louisiana is essential to the tree planter. Although water is abundant in Louisiana, irrigation is effective at controlling the water access to new plants. Too little water and the plant withers, too much and your new tree could rot or fail to carry enough necessary nutrients. Using a drip or sprinkler irrigation system can effectively manage the dispersal of water to newly planted trees, ensuring successful rooting and growth.
Louisiana’s climate and growing zones are directly impacted by its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. 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. The northern half of the boot falls in Zone 8a, with temperatures reaching as far as 10°F. Most regions south and slightly northwest of Alexandria will find temperatures do not drop below 15°F. In small regions of the south, surrounding the Mississippi delta and south of Lake Charles, temperatures may only reach as low as 20°F.
Louisiana is no stranger to damaging weather. In 2005, Louisiana experienced the brunt of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating and destructive storms in the history of the United States. Frequent thunderstorms, tornadoes, and tropical cyclones also affect the area, with flooding and property damage occurring in the aftermath. Trees are effective in preventing erosion, and if planted far enough from direct infrastructure, may help protect property.