The Palmetto State is, fittingly, home to the Carolina Palmetto. A Palmetto palm, the Carolina Palmetto invokes images of the Bahamas, subtropical Gulf Coast, and Turks and Caicos Islands, but it is also native to the southeastern United States. The salt tolerant Carolina Palmetto can grow up to 65 feet tall, and extends lengthy palm fronds outward, sometimes measuring 5 to 6.5 feet in length. The Carolina Palmetto produces yellow-white flowers and a small black fruit which contains a single see. The Carolina Palmetto is noted as cold-hardy, though reports vary on the low temperatures it can withstand. Regardless, the Carolina Palmetto could be a good choice for a backyard paradise; however, the South Carolinian planter is not limited to just one tree. There are hundreds of tree varieties to choose from when planting in South Carolina.
Due to its large size, severe weather, and varied temperatures, the smart South Carolinian grower will need to consider the following:
- Soil Type
- Average Precipitation
- Growing Zones
- Weather Damage
Best Trees for South Carolina
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.
- October Glory Maple
Ideal for continuous color, adaptable growing conditions, and landscaping designs.
- Arbequina Olive Tree
Ideal as potted plants, these trees are adaptable and edible.
- Muskogee Crape
Ideal for mildew resistance, fragrant lavender blooms, and fast-growing height.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in South Carolina
The state of South Carolina is renowned throughout the United States as a comfortable, healthy, and safe state in which to abide. It is no wonder that South Carolinian residents may notice new homes being built nearby, new developments and shopping centers popping up, and highways carrying loud cars laid in bulk near their home. Planting trees along yard perimeters will add both privacy and beauty to the South Carolinian yard.
Although there are many options from which to choose, in South Carolina, a planter cannot be mistook by the American Holly. Growing throughout the United States, American Holly is adaptable, fast-growing, and colorful. Reaching at least 15 feet in height, the American Holly forms dense evergreen walls reminiscent of hedge mazes. In addition, South Carolinian residents can also choose from the Leyland Cypress or Nellie Stevens Holly to form the perfect private paradise.
South Carolina experiences a humid subtropical climate, with characteristically hot, humid summers and mild to cold winters, slightly tempered by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Summers are hot, and daytime temperatures range between 86°F and 93°F while evening temperatures are still humid, but cooler, lying between 70°F and 75°F. Winters are variable, with coastal regions experiencing temperatures between 30°F and 60°. Moving inland, temperature cool; the average overnight low temperature is 32°F. The highest temperature was recorded in 2012 at 113°F and the lowest temperature was recorded in 1985 at -19°F.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Lynchburg soils arise on level marine flats on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and are deep, poorly draining soils. Covering more than 865,000 acres of South Carolinian land, Lynchburg soils are well-suited to cultivated crops and pastureland. Regardless of the property’s location in The Palmetto State, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
The Squeeze test is aptly named because it requires only a small handful of dirt from just beneath the ground’s surface, and your hands. The soil should be moist, but not drenched. The tester simply squeezes the soil and observes one of the three following events.
1. The soil will hold its shape. If you touch the soil, it will maintain its original shape. You have CLAY.
2. The soil will hold its shape. If you touch the soil, it 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.
Precipitation is plentiful throughout South Carolina, with coastal regions having slightly wetter summers and inland regions having slightly wetter springs. Thunderstorms bring much of the annual precipitation, dropping, on average, 60 inches of rain. The rainfall is variable across the state; regions inland may receive between 40 and 50 inches of rain, while Piedmont may receive between 70 and 80 inches of rainfall. Snowfall is less common, with coastal regions receiving less than an inch of snow on average. Inland, snow can be slightly more significant; although, even the snowiest region only receives 12 inches on average annually.
With variable rainfall systems, such as those that affect South Carolina, irrigation systems can be an effective water management tool, both increasing water dispersal efficiency and increasing successful plant growth. Newly planted trees require consistent and controlled water access, and a drip or sprinkler irrigation system can be one effective tool for ensuring strong post-transplantation growth.
South Carolina is home to four unique 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. In southern and coastal regions, low temperature ranges are warm, rarely dropping below 15°F or 20°F. Moving northwest across the state, temperatures cool slightly. In the farthest northwest corner of South Carolina, plants may have to endure temperatures as low as 0°F for an extended length of time. Most of the state, however, falls into two central zones: 7b and 8a. Most plants in South Carolina should be able to withstand low temperature ranges between 5°F and 15°F.
South Carolina is no stranger to devastating weather systems; tropical cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms all affect the region, which sees storms traveling along the east coast. South Carolina extends its coastline out horizontally, pulling storms towards its coast. From June to November, the state is at risk for serious tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Of record are two hurricanes that struck in 1954 and 1989, recorded as Category 4 hurricanes. Thunderstorms, averaging 64 a year, are a common occurrence, as are tornadoes. Both occur primarily in summer. Plant new trees away from powerlines and buildings, and plant near roads and stream banks to protect against erosion.