Friday, April 3, 2015

"Pines & Palms"

Pines and Palms

Pine trees are prevalent throughout our home State of Wisconsin, but the genus Pinus is also prevalent in the southeastern part of our country—particularly in Florida and Georgia—where native soils and warm temperatures nurture pines.  Pine trees in Wisconsin look delicious when frosted with fresh snow, but look stately in the south, poised against a blue sky backdrop.

Complementing pine trees in the southern landscape is another beauty: the palm tree!  After traveling throughout Florida and Georgia during February, I discovered a variety of pines and palms which thrive in Florida and southern Georgia (some natives, some non-natives).  Each species of pine and palm provides a dramatic flair to accent the landscape. 

Palm trees are classified within the botanical family Arecaceae and require warm temperate climates, so you may encounter a portion of the 2,500+ species while traveling in the South.   Smaller varieties of palms are often grown in Wisconsin as houseplants; you may also find larger specimens at botanical gardens where the necessary tropical environment can be recreated in greenhouses and atriums.  In nature, specific palms can thrive within their range, from arid deserts to rainforest climates. Florida and southern Georgia provide a “happy place” for palms!

Both pines and palms are economically important trees as well. They offer a selection of numerous species and cultivars. They can be utilized as landscape plantings.  In addition, pine is a renewable resource providing lumber for homes and building projects.  Palms are utilized to make certain food products.  Beyond their aesthetic value, pines and palms place their signature on our country’s economy...  both pines and palms deserve some respect!

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture