Know Your Common North Carolina Trees

Everyone can probably tell you what the logos for the biggest brands look like. They can probably identify the logos for their favorite apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. But do you think they could name most of the trees in their own backyards? Blackhawk Tree Services is here to help. We put together some details about the most common trees you’ll find here in North Carolina.

Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)

The loblolly pine is a pine tree native to the southeastern U.S. This evergreen tree is also known as the “southern yellow pine.” The tree is commonly found in lowland and swampy areas. That’s where it gets the name “loblolly” from. In the American South, “loblolly” used to be another name for a mudhole. These pines can grow up to 115 feet high and be five feet around. It’s the second most common tree in the country, behind only the red maple.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

The red maple can go by many names. The deciduous also known as the “swamp maple”, “water maple”, or “soft maple”. The red maple is the most common tree in the United States. It’s also the state tree of Rhode Island. Thanks to its brilliant colors, the red maple is a popular shade tree for landscapes. Because it grows so easily, it’s also thought of as an invasive species. The red maple has slowly taken over forests on the East Coast, pushing out other trees like oaks and pines.

Oak genus (Quercus sp.)

There are around 600 different species of oaks. The largest variety of those species can be found in North America. About 90 species are in the USA, with another 160 species in Mexico. Oaks are easily identifiable thanks to their unique leaves and acorns. Oaks can live to be hundreds of years old. The oak is the state tree of Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.

Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

The yellow poplar is a flowering tree that can be found across the eastern U.S. These trees bloom in the spring and have pretty, tulip-shaped flowers. That’s why it’s also commonly known as the “tulip tree”.  It’s the tallest eastern hardwood tree. In fact, it’s been known to get over 160 feet tall in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s the state tree of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

You might recognize the sweetgum by its five-pointed, star-shaped leaves. It’s also known to drop hard, spiky fruits (or “burrs”). You definitely remember them if you’ve stepped on one. These trees are found through the Southeast. You can also tell the sweetgum from its deeply ridged bark. It’s similar to that of an oak. This is why sweetgum is sometimes called “alligatorwood.”

Hickory genus (Carya sp.)

Hickory are a common deciduous tree with potentially 12 different species being found in the USA. Their leaves are serrated and oval-shaped. They can usually be found near the ends of branches in bunches of 5 to 17. They’re also recognizable by their large nuts. Hickory trees are prized for their hard, stiff wood. You can find hickory commonly used for tool handles, walking sticks, smoking meats, and much more.

Leyland cypress (Cupressus x leylandii)

The Leyland cypress is an evergreen, coniferous tree. Because of its fast growth rate, it’s become a popular plant for parks and gardens. You can identity them by their small, circular cones and short, green leaves. They are frequently used to form hedges and screens on properties. Leyland cypress can grow like crazy. They can get nearly 50 feet tall in as few as 15 years.

Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana)

You probably recognize the Bradford Pear by its distinctive white flowers, and its pungent smell. They were once planted as ornamental trees. But the trees quickly spread throughout the South. Many people think of them as nuisances. This is not only for their fishy smell when blooming. The trees are also prone to breakage during storms. This makes for messes in yards and neighborhoods. If you’d like a Bradford Pear removed, call the professionals at Blackhawk Tree Services to get the job done right.

Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)

Crepe myrtles are known for their smooth trunks and paper-thin sheets of bark. Their long-lasting flowers during the summer make them popular trees for gardens and landscapes. The crinkled flowers have a texture like crepe paper. This is where the name comes from. Be careful if plan to prune your crepe myrtle. You’re probably best calling a pro so you don’t hurt your tree. The experts at Blackhawk Tree Services can keep your crepe myrtle properly pruned and looking great.

River Birch (Betula nigra)

The river birch is a deciduous tree that can get up to 100 meters tall. It’s actually one of the few birch trees that grows down south. This is because it can handle the heat. The river birch can commonly be found in and around swamps and floodplains. Thus the name. You can always tell a river birch by its unique bark. The gray and brown bark peels away in thin, papery sheets.

Magnolia (Magnoloa grandiflora)

The sites and smells of Magnolia trees are iconic to the American South. With their shiny, broad leaves and large white flowers, magnolias are easily recognizable. Anyone who’s ever had one in their yard also knows how much of a pain it can be to rake up all those leaves. To properly care for a magnolia, make sure it has lots of space. Keep the soil well drained. Magnolias don’t need to be pruned often. But if your tree gets damaged call a pro to prune it back to help with the healing.

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

The American beech is a deciduous tree found all along the East Coast. The American beech can be identified by its smooth, gray bark and dark green leaves. The leaves are oval and have small teeth along the edges. They grow well in shaded areas. It’s also frequently found near sugar maple trees. Because it requires lots of moisture and rich soil, beech trees were used as a sign of good farmland.

Rely on Blackhawk for All Your Tree Care Needs

This should help get you started at better understanding the trees of North Carolina. What’s your favorite? Want to learn more about your local trees? Find out how to properly care for, or remove, the trees around your home. Call Blackhawk Tree Services today at (919) 469-1340. Blackhawk is your tree service expert, specializing in everything from pruning to removal and beyond.