Think of Georgia, and one of the images that comes to mind is a giant oak tree, dripping with Spanish moss. Western Georgia is home to many types of oak trees, which help shield residents from the blazing summer heat. They also provide habitat for birds and wildlife near the Chattahoochee River, which makes up a portion of the state's western border.
Live oak (Quercus virginiana) is the state tree of Georgia. It is usually draped with Spanish moss, especially in the summer. This tree grows to between 60 and 100 feet tall, with a spread as wide as 100 feet. For that reason, live oak trees are popular as shade trees. The trunk of the live oak tree can grow to be up to 6 feet in diameter, and the tree may live up to 200 to 300 years. The tree is very hardy and can grow in full sun, partial sun or partial shade as long as it has plenty of room. It also does well in the sandy soils native to western Georgia.This tree should not be planted in urban areas, as its roots have been known to uproot sidewalks.
Black oak (Quercus velutina) reaches a height of up to 60 feet The limbs of the black oak tree are very heavy and wide-spreading. This species has yellow, green or brown blooms in March or April each year. Leaves of this tree are a glossy green during the summer, but will normally turn orange or red in the fall. This tree is characterized by a yellow or orange inner bark. Early settlers would dry this bark and then grind it to a powder for use as a yellow dye for garments. The bark of a black oak tree was also sometimes used in making medicines. It will grow in full or partial sun. It does well in soil that is dry and sandy, like that of western Georgia.
The sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima) gets its name because the leaves have a serrated, or "sawtooth," appearance. This tree can grow to a mature height of up to 40 feet. The trunk of a fully-grown sawtooth oak tree will be between 2 to 3 feet in diameter. This oak tree has a heavy amount of acorns, with each tree producing 40 to 80 lbs. of this nut. The tree will also be fully producing in only nine years, compared to 20 years for other oak species. It prefers well-drained soil and full-to-partial sun. Sawtooth oak trees are a good choice for home landscaping, attracting a variety of birds and wildlife. The leaves of this tree turn a bright yellow in the fall.