The Volunteer State sits in the southeastern central region of the United States, sharing a border with eight other states, including Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. In this region, the Tulip Poplar grows well, and it is partially for this reason Tennessee has adopted the Tulip Tree as its state tree. Tulip Poplars are popular due to their fast-growing capabilities, pleasant shade, and minimal care. Reaching between 40 and 190 feet, the Tulip Poplar is valuable for its strong wood, a rarity in trees that display fast growth. Sometimes growing 8 feet a year, the Tulip Poplar has a conical shape and limbs beginning above 25 feet. Tulip Poplars, occasionally called Hybrid Poplars, are an easy tree to grow for the beginning tree-grower; however, Tennessee planters can choose from hundreds of other tree varieties when planting.
Due to its inland location, proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, and varied temperatures, the smart Tennessean grower will need to consider the following:
– Soil Type
– Average Precipitation
– Growing Zones
– Weather Damage
Best Trees for Tennessee
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:
#1. Royal Empress Trees – Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
#2. Muskogee Crape – Ideal for mildew resistance, fragrant lavender blooms, and fast-growing height.
#3. Cold Hardy Avocado – Ideal for bearing fruit for delicious, edible profits, color, and adaptable qualities.
#4. Tulip Poplar – Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Tennessee
New developments throughout the United States mean more infrastructure, more people, and more invasion of privacy. The residents of Tennessee have the option to plant and tend trees that produce privacy, turning away prying eyes and loud noises and instead enjoying the quiet and peace of private property.
The Leyland Cypress is the perfect privacy tree for Tennessean inhabitants. The Leyland Cypress grows quickly, adds distinct charm, and produces thick barriers between a private abode and unwanted chatter. Growing between 3 and 5 feet a year, the Leyland Cypress will give the Tennessean yard the fast-growing privacy for which they have been searching. Alternatively, the Thuja Green Giant and American Holly will bring privacy, color, and solitude to the savvy planter’s yard.
Tennessee lies in a humid subtropical climate, with areas in Appalachia sometimes experiencing mountain temperate climates or humid continental climates depending on elevation. Summers in Tennessee are hot and humid, regardless of location. Most of the state will see daily average high temperatures at or above 90°F, though areas in the Appalachian Mountains do see a slight reprieve. Humidity is heavy, and Tennessee sees high average rainfall. Winters are mild to cool, with average daily temperatures ranging from low to high 40s. The highest temperature recorded in Tennessee was in 1930, when temperatures rose to 113°F, while the lowest temperature was recorded in Mountain City in 1917, and temperatures dropped to -32°F.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Dickson is the state soil of Tennessee, and it covers over 400,000 acres of the state’s land. The soil can be slightly brittle, but still relatively fertile and well-draining. The primary crops grown in Dickson soils are corn and soybeans. Regardless of the property’s location in The Volunteer State, 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.
Rainfall is heavy in Tennessee, which sees upwards of 50 inches, on average, annually. The Gulf of Mexico is a large factor in the heavy precipitation, which is carried via warm, moist winds from the water body. The Atlantic Ocean, though a state away, also impacts the region, causing cooling of the air and the heavy rainfall. Tennessee experiences on average 50 thunderstorms a year, well above the national average. Thunderstorms can be dangerous, bringing heavy winds and large hail. Snow usually occurs once a year. Most of the state will rarely see more than 5 inches, while higher elevations in the western mountain ranges may see as much as 16 inches of snow a year.
Rainfall may be plentiful in Tennessee, but water control is still exceptionally important for new trees. Newly planted trees have recently undergone significant stress, which comes from transplantation. The root ball has likely lost several taproots and capillary roots, which can be detrimental for further growth. One way to combat this stress is with proper watering. Irrigation can be an effective means for providing controlled and well-maintained water dispersal to these new trees. Investigate your property for irrigations systems, and consider investing in a drip or sprinkler irrigation system if none exist.
Tennessee 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. The zones in Tennessee generally move in horizontal bands across the state. In the far south, temperatures are warmer, rarely dropping below 0°F for extended times. In the far southwest corner of Tennessee near Memphis, temperatures will rarely dip below 10°F to 5°F for extended lengths of time. Temperatures cool moving north, with areas southwest of Nashville, within the Daniel Boone National Forest, and the far east of Knoxville occasionally experiencing extended lengths of temperatures ranging from -5°F to -10°F.
Tennessee is not directly along the coast, and this protects from a direct hit from a hurricane; regardless, weakened tropical cyclones frequently affect the region, dumping heavy rainfall and strong winds in the region. Tornadoes are the other concern in the region, with Tennessee receiving on average 15 tornadoes a year. Tennessee has the highest national percentage rate of fatalities per tornado, suggesting these tornadoes can be uniquely severe and dangerous. Plant trees away from powerlines and buildings. Remember, trees can be a great defense against erosion from heavy rains, so plant along roads and streams.