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There’s an ancient proverb that goes something like this, “The best time to plant a tree was ten years ago. The second best time is right now.” We can apply this logic to all those tasks that we should start on sooner rather than later. But we are going to take a look at the literal part of the old saying and discuss the specific trees you can plant today that will be the best fit for your upcoming landscaping projects.

Sometimes the challenge isn’t picking the perfect time to plant a tree. It’s picking the perfect tree for the specific location, client, or community fit. Luckily G&S Nursery has deep roots in the tree world that have provided the experience needed to help our customers choose the right trees each time.

If you have ever tried to sort through 125 different species of Magnolia trees, then you know how too many choices can make a landscaper’s head spin. So take a few minutes to look at our favorite trees and the features/uses that make them special to us.

Willow Oaks

If your landscape project will benefit from ever-changing colors throughout the year, this tree is a terrific choice. The Willow oak shows off bright green leaves in the spring, evolving to darker greens in the summer, then closing the year out with the meshing of yellow/orange/red in the fall. Golf courses are known to incorporate this tree due to fast growth, wonderful appearance, and size. Parks are a perfect place for Willow oaks as well since this large shade tree keeps family picnics cool and provides a shady place for a nap in a hammock.

By the way, you guys deserve time for a cat nap too! So don’t forget to plan trees that make that possible in your home landscape.

Shumard Oaks

This is one tough oak tree. It has a beautiful side as well if you consider all the wildlife its acorns attract. Landscapes in parks that would want songbirds, game birds like wild turkey and quail, and white-tailed deer should consider the Shumard oak tree. The tough factor is shown in their longevity – some can live as long as 480 years! Also, they can handle wide ranges of pH levels in soil. This oak is drought-resistant too. One weakness to be noted is that Shumard oaks don’t transplant well. So choose the initial planting position carefully when they are young.


G&S Nursery provides many varieties of Maple trees. We can’t talk about all of them (you contractors are busy with installs). But we can discuss the lovely Red maple. At maturity it can reach 40 feet and does well in Hardiness Zones 3-9. Red maples can make a landscape look mature fairly quickly as they can grow up to 24 inches in a single year. Property owners who want brilliant fall color cannot go wrong as these trees produce yellow to red foliage that is eye-catching to say the least.

Crape Myrtles

What more can we say about a tree that Southern Living has called “the essential southern plant”? Plenty actually! Who doesn’t remember climbing around on these trees as a small child in granny’s yard? The weird colored and textured bark just lures people in to take a gander or to climb up. The low maintenance is a big draw for clients who do their own yard work and for landscaping companies that want to spend less time maintaining the plants they install. Of course there is lots of debate on how to prune or whether to prune Crepe myrtles at all. If space is the issue that forces pruning then luckily there are dwarf varieties available to keep these wonderful trees from expanding too far.

Live Oak

This proud tree is one of the most enduring symbols of the southern United States. One can’t drive through a tiny city without seeing a few Live oaks in a city park or in the downtown area. These trees produce acorns that attract all manner of birds, including turkeys. Besides attracting beautiful feathered creatures, Live oaks are used as coastal windbreakers. If you live in Hardiness Zones 7-10, then the Live oak is a natural choice. At maturity this grand tree can grow to heights of 60-100 feet. This is not a picky tree when it comes to soil either. It can thrive in acidic, alkaline, moist, clay, and sandy soils.


Ok, we know that Magnolias get a bad rap for shedding the monstrous leaves that seem to be indestructible. But if your landscaping company is big on maintenance then these trees give your crews plenty to do when it comes to clean ups. The positives far outweigh the negatives if you appreciate beauty (which most of us do since we are in the beautification business). The Magnolia tree can’t be ignored as it stands out among other trees. The glossy leaves, showy flowers that appeal to the nose as well, not to mention the attractive fruit put out by this outstanding tree. Uses for Magnolias include:
• Near patios
• Screens
• Specimens
• Hedges

Do note that ice storms can really damage Magnolias. Lucky folks in Florida generally don’t have to worry, but for the rest of you, take these precautions. Young, tender trees can be covered with cloth or paper to shield Magnolias from frozen precipitation. Heavy mulch will help protect this tree’s shallow root system during a deep freeze. Lastly, be sure to pick a cold-hardy species of Magnolia if spring frosts are a concern. The Star Magnolia and “Bracken’s Brown Beauty” are two popular options.

Still Can’t Decide?

If you still can’t decide which trees from the above that would suit your current project, just give us a call. We have more options available than squirrels have acorns piled up this winter.

As with any landscaping job it is crucial to talk to and listen to the client before installing any plant, even more so for a tree that can live for centuries. Trees don’t rush to maturity. Time slowly passes as these giant plants show off leaves each season, attract furry and feathered friends, and provide cover for people. We, in the landscaping industry, should take our time in choosing trees that make such a big impact in a landscape.

There’s no need to rush the process and just stick any ole’ variety of tree where it doesn’t belong. Consider your client’s needs, the climate, the budget, and the spacing. Then you can narrow the list of trees down to a few.

The second best time to plant a tree is in fact today. But the best time to decide on the best tree is many days beforehand, with careful consideration.

Download your free guide for choosing trees here!

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