Trees are a wonderful way to significantly reduce the amount of pollutants in the air. If this is your main goal of adding trees to your garden, keep in mind that evergreen trees and shrubs are more effective in this regard than deciduous species. Below are 10 trees that are designed to thrive in zones 7 and 8.
Acer rubrum (Red Maple)
This maple, a beautiful ornamental deciduous tree, grows from 30-90 feet tall and up to 4 foot in diameter. Flowering from March to May, it also has wonderful red spring and fall color. This tree takes best to full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It is an important part of the saw timber industry and for pulpwood. White-tail deer also use the red maple as a food source. Ink and various dyes were once made from the bark. Care should be taken when mowing and removing weeds around the red maple as it is susceptible to damage from the blades due to the thin bark.
Amelanchier arborea (Downy Serviceberry)
Serviceberry can either be a deciduous tree or a large shrub, growing up to 30 feet. It produces white flowers in March and reddish purple berrylike fruits from June to August. For bird lovers this tree can’t be beat; over 40 species of birds eat the serviceberry’s fruit and it’s a preferred food of the gypsy month. It will be a beautiful addition to any butterfly garden.
Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange)
This thorny branched tree reaches a height of 35-50 feet tall. It prefers full sun and is pH adaptable. It’s a fast grower under right conditions. The earliest mention of this was in 1804 and named for William Maclure. It has unreliable yellow fall foliage. You may propagate this by seed or soft wood cuttings.
Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia)
One of the best known trees in the south, the magnolia is a fast growing evergreen that will mature at around 60-90 feet. It has large saucer-like white flowers that are classically fragrant. Blooms appear from April to June. Magnolias are best in rich moist soils and will tolerate some shade. Plant this for a showy classic addition to your garden. Letting the leaves fall without raking provides natural ground mulch for the tree.
Malus angustifolia (Southern crapapple)
This deciduous sun loving tree has fragrant pink flowers. It is a member of the Rose family and its name means “narrow leaves”. This tree will get up to 30 feet tall, prefers sun but will live in partial shade, and has hard green apples as fruits. This will have a high heat tolerance.
Myrica cerifera (Southern wax myrtle)
Also known as Southern Bayberry, this evergreen tree can be a shrub as well. It will grow around 40 feet tall and is quick to mature. Flowers come early, and will grow from February to June. It fruits from August to October. This tree is a source of wax for those wonderful bayberry candles, and it was cultivated in 1699 for use as a medicine source. The bayberry is a great tree for a heavy soil landscape.
Persea palustris (Swamp Redbay)
This tree will get up to 25-40 feet tall and it prefers partial shade. It has small yellow green flowers and makes up a stout tree. The 3-7 inch leaves have a spicy odor when crushed and it has hairs along the midribs.
Pinckneya pubens (Georgia Feverbark, Bitterbark, Hardy Poinsettia tree)
This tree gets up to 15-25 feet tall and prefers partial shade. It will have pink flowers that look like a poinsettia from May to June. It is rounded and good for specimen tree landscaping. Folklore remedies has this tree listed for an antiperiodic and tonic, it is used for malaria.
Pinus virginiana (Virginia Pine)
This evergreen is a slow grower; reaching heights of 15-40 feet tall and a spread of 10-30 feet wide. It has 2-4 cones in clusters as its fruits; it is not ornamental. This pine has yellow green needs and reddish brown bark. These can be used as Christmas decorations.
Platanus occidentalis (Sycamore)
This deciduous tree gets up to 75-90 feet tall and has a spread of 60-70 feet wide. It grows rapidly and has alternate 3-5 lobe and 6-10 inch long leaves. Foliage is yellow brown in fall and it makes a good shade or lawn tree. Its flowers are dark red in March.
Sycamore has great exfoliating bark. You can propagate this by cuttings or seed.