A Final Thought…

You may have noticed that many of the species pointed out in this tour are "non-native", that is they were brought in from far away, exotic places. This does not diminish the importance of using native species in landscaping. Naturally occurring trees and shrubs have adapted to the local climate and soils and are members of the neighborhood ecosystem.

Both native and non-native species have a role to play. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson proposed a balance be struck. They utilized native trees admirably, but were always on the lookout for something new to add a spot of color or unusually graceful lines. A grove of bright-green Japanese maples interact with sunlight and shadow most eloquently. Together with a continuous groundcover of native periwinkle, liriope, daylilies, and occasional boxwoods, no lawn is even necessary. Preventing weediness and unending maintance is simply a matter of using up the sunlight.

Speaking of that, the one exception to this rule of judicious use of native and non-native species is avoidance of exotic species that are also invasive. These plants can overrun adjacent natural areas and overwhelm the natural balance there. Ailanthius, or tree of heaven as some call it, is one such invasive tree species

But vines are the real problem: Kudzu, English ivy, Oriental bittersweet, climbing euonymus, Japanese honeysuckle, wisterias, and multiflora roses should NOT be planted under any conditions! These species are a scourge to natural areas. They lay a thick blanket of foliage over every surface, literally smothering the natural flora.

To Save Trees

Stop Planting Vines! Otherwise, enjoy and incorporate the best of native and non-native trees and shrubs to achieve your own unique landscape.

The Liberty Tree shown in this sketch by local artist, Suzanne Ducker, was an inspirational local landmark. Surviving for centuries, this old tulip poplar finally succumbed to Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Leaf Quest

Each site in this tour has a particular tree pictured at the beginning of the site description. Take a careful look at the leaves of this featured tree and match it to the photographs below. Identify the name of each tree.

#1See Site 5: Is English boxwood or American elm? #6See Site 1: Is American elm or English boxwood?
See Site 3: Is Golden rain tree or Southern red oak?
See Site 8: Is Southern red oak or Golden rain tree?
See Site 7: Is Flowering crab apple or Japanese cut leaf maple?
See Site 4: Is Japanese cut leaf maple or Flowering crab apple?
See Site 2: Is Deodar cedar or Tulip poplar?
See Site 6: Is Tulip poplar or Deodar cedar?
See Site 9: Is Paper birch or Oriental spruce?
See Site 10: Is Oriental spruce or Paper birch?

Answers are found

Answers to Leaf Quest activity

Last updated on November 20, 2001.

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