En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Juniperus virginiana and some pines for Florida

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 11, 2007

From: Pensacola, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Juniperus virginiana and some pines for Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Pensacola, FL (Northwest Florida, practically lower-coastal Alabama) and I am looking for a medium size tree that will cast shade on my home. The house faces due west and it gets extremely hot in the summer. I understand that deciduous is the way to go for landscape use with the purpose of energy efficiency (shade in summer; sun in winter). I have a relatively small front yard (approx. 60'x 50') with little landscaping (except for the recently planted Savannah hollies and wax myrtles). I want to provide food and shelter for the birds, and am particularly fond of Christmas-like trees (but Spruces and Firs are not found around here; did I mention I live in Florida?) Will the Ashe Juniper do pretty well in my region? I like all of its characteristics and could even decorate it during the holidays. My 2nd choice would be the Eastern Red Cedar, but all publications that I have read indicate it is a columnar tree (and that brings to mind the straight-and-narrow pencil shaped tree). I'd prefer to have a full, dense, broad to spreading shape tree. Would either of these trees require any amendments to my existing sandy, acidic soil? Would it be advantageous to purchase a relatively mature tree (older than 3 years) or stick with a sapling? Also, it has been unusually dry lately in my area (we usually have humid, rainy summers), so if this weather pattern persists, will the trees survive the drought? I apologize for the overwhelming amount of questions, but I know you are a reputable, respectable source, and am open to your suggestions. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) should do fine in your area. Its shape is not always columnar and can be quite variable as you can see by the photos in our Image Gallery. Young trees of Eastern redcedar are usually more pyramidal than columnar. Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper) is not really a good option, though, since it isn't native to your area. However, since you are fond of Christmas trees, there are several pine trees that are native to Escambia County, Florida: Pinus clausa (sand pine), Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine), Pinus elliottii (slash pine), Pinus glabra (spruce pine), Pinus palustris (longleaf pine), and Pinus taeda (loblolly pine).

Price and availability will likely be the deciding factor for the size of tree you purchase. Most pine trees grow rapidly so a smaller size might be fine if you choose one of them.

No matter what size or what weather conditions, a newly planted tree is going to require regular, thorough watering for two or three months after you put it in place until it grows new roots to replace those damaged by the installation. The best tree-planting time of the year in your area is late fall and early winter.

Here are links for pictures of P. clausa, P. elliottii, and P. glabra.

 


Juniperus virginiana

Pinus echinata

Pinus palustris

Pinus taeda

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Foundation plants for Albuquerque.
July 01, 2012 - Hello, I live in Albuquerque. I am looking for some native/xeric low water usage plants for foundation plants for my home. They will be foundation plants for a two story home that has a large ponde...
view the full question and answer

Fenceline trees for Northwest Austin
January 14, 2011 - We live in Northwest Austin, near 183 and Anderson Mill. Our neighbor recently cut down all their trees in their backyard, which provided nice afternoon shade for us. We would like to re-plant some ...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree for horse arena in Southern California
July 06, 2011 - I live in Trabuco Canyon, CA, and we just lost an old Sycamore in our horse arena. I would like to replace it with some thing that is fast growing, and will be able to withstand life around horses, o...
view the full question and answer

Native holly (ilex) for Austin area
May 28, 2006 - Hi--my brother and his family live in Austin, TX--their german shepard "Holly" just died (she was 13)--I was throwing around the idea of sending them a holly plant of some sort to have in honor of H...
view the full question and answer

Care of a live oak with decay and perhaps fungus on trunk
July 14, 2011 - I have a huge live oak on my property in Salado that just lost a very large branch. The branch had decay in the center and also has a variety of bugs in it, espeically since it has been on the ground...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center