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Tennessee Guide to Growing Trees

Tennessee is a state that has many trees and forests. For those who live in Tennessee, this guide will teach you how to grow your own tree from the ground up. 

Trees in Tennessee

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Tennessee

Kwanzan Cherry Tree

The showiest of the Cherry Tree family, Kwanzan plants add unmatched color to spring with their double pink flowers. This tree comes in a variety of colors, including pink and white flowers. The double-pink variety of this tree offers a beautiful mix that includes twice the petals and blooms. In the spring and fall, it also produces golden autumn leaves. It blooms in April, making for four seasons of visual interest in your yard.

The Kwanzan Cherry is easy to grow and can thrive in almost any soil. You don’t have to feel like you have to spend hours working on it, as there’s no guesswork with the cherry tree.

Planting & Care

Kwanzan trees require moist, well-drained soil and at least 4 hours of sunlight daily. To plant one, dig a hole that’s 2x the diameter of its root ball; make sure it has a small mound in the center to set on; spread tree roots out, leaving some above ground and fill with dirt. Finally, cover it with mulch after planting for moisture conservation.

Water your tree when the top 2 inches of soil dries. Flowering Cherry trees will not require fertilizer for the first two years, but you can add some after that annually for each year of the tree’s age with up to 1 pound per year. Apply it once in the spring or split it into 4 equal applications over spring and summer. When flowers and fruit are gone, they should be removed from the tree for new flower buds to grow. Winter pruning is necessary to remove any dead or damaged branches.

Purple Plunge Weeping Plum Tree

The Purple Plunge is a hybrid plum, with weeping branches and iconic blushing pinks. Not only that, it’s one of the few fragrant varieties available: it invites you and your guests to enjoy its smell from your garden. This tree features bright blooms in the early spring that bloom long and amply, creating a strong color contrast with your yard. And unlike other trees, this fall will show off deep purple leaves on each stem to make for an exceptional piece of your landscape design.

The Purple Plunge has year-round appeal because it is both visually appealing and easy to cultivate. It tolerates poor soil, hot, humid weather, and freezing temperatures down to -10 degrees.

Planting & Care

To grow a successful “Purple Plum”, you should plant it in well-drained soil and full sun. Once your hole is dug, place the tree in and backfill with soil until the hole is filled.

To get the best performance from your new tree, water at least twice a week in dry or hot weather, and irrigate with a 5-5-5 fertilizer when spring arrives. When the plant is dormant during winter months, remove broken branches and dead foliage to shape as desired.

The Best Shade Trees in Tennessee

Redpointe Maple

Redpointe Maple trees have brilliant red foliage in the fall, but it’s only one thing that makes this tree a favorite. It has a more pyramidal shape and deep green leaves year-round, making it attractive for all seasons. Plus, it is bred to be adaptable – both its shape and size are perfect for property landscaping accents.

Homeowners that prefer vibrant leaves in autumn, as well as the green shade with highlights of white, are often drawn to the Redpointe Maple. This tree includes a unique advantage: early spring brings silky, peachy flowers followed by stunning red leaves later in the year.

The Redpointe Maple is resistant to pests and diseases that may afflict maples because it grows in high pH soils. In addition, the Redpointe Maple is easy to plant and grow. Unlike other varieties of trees that may require specific soil conditions or a climate with certain temperature variations, this tree can be planted in many different places as long as it receives adequate water during the drier months.

Planting & Care

The Redpointe Maple tree prefers well-draining soil and a sunny location. When planting, measure the space your tree is coming out of (width and depth) – digging the hole one to two times as deep in diameter as size from rootball to ground surface, with proper depth for pot style when inserting plant. Once the water has had a chance to absorb into the root ball and surrounding soil, backfill the remaining soil. Pack firmly and water again before mulching to retain moisture and keep other plants from growing close.

To retain the Redpointe Maple’s green leaves, keep it in a well-lit area and provide plenty of water during its formative years. Keep this tree irrigated while aging to avoid drooping leaves that may signify over-watering or under-watering.

Properly fertilizing your new maple tree is important for its health. It is best to use slow-release fertilizer twice a month while the tree is in growth, and once per month after leaf growth or summer.  If you want to prune this tree, make sure it is dormant in Fall and avoid fertilizing, which causes leaves all year round. One good time to trim the tree is right before it goes dormant when its sap flow slows down. However, try not to cut off too many branches because they will cause a bigger problem if left unchecked since trees won’t be able to grow as well.

Dawn Redwood Tree

A Dawn Redwood is the perfect tree for those with an easier approach to finding and planting trees. It offers gorgeous leaves in springtime, spectacular colors during the Summer months, and amazing textures that can be appreciated throughout Fall as well. The surprising qualities of this plant are that it needs no extra tools or care to survive! If you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to install new greenery in your yard, then this may be the right choice!

Standing water is not a problem for the Dawn Redwood. If you have low areas in your landscape that fill with water during heavy rain, plant this tree. Most other trees cannot survive in this type of environment, but this tree loves it and soaks it up to grow to amazing heights of up to 50 feet!

Planting & Care

To grow your Redwood, you will need well-draining soil placed in an area with full sun. Plant it in a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball of the tree. If you live in an area prone to drought or rain, consider applying a thick layer of mulch around the base to retain moisture. Make sure your Dawn Redwood gets at least one inch of water each week during its initial phases and more if needed (typically every 2-3 weeks)

The Best Fruit Trees in Tennessee

Black Tartarian Cherry Tree

Want an easy way to grow delicious, homegrown cherries? Start with the Black Tartarian Tree. The tree is drought-tolerant and has a high production rate. You can enjoy cherries in just one year, with a sweet balance of tart and tangy flavor, the fruits are irresistible! This tree offers versatility too: you can use them in salads, pies, or other types of desserts. You can even try drying them for wintertime snacks! Best yet? The trees have few pests and diseases making it one less thing that will stress you out any season.

Black Tartarian cherry trees grow so quickly, they will provide a plethora of cherries without any work on your behalf. However, the Black Tartarian is not self-fertile and needs another variety to be effective. The most effective pollinators we have chosen for this area are Bing Cherry Tree, Rainier Cherry Tree, Lapins Cherry Tree, Montmorency Cherry, and Stella Cherry Tree.

Planting & Care

Tartarians can do well in any type of soil but should be planted where they will get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Well-drained soil is best for Tartarians. When planting, dig a hole three times the width of the root ball and just as deep. Place the tree in the center of the hole, and backfill with soil so that it is level with or higher than ground level. Tamp down to prevent air pockets from forming around roots. Spread mulch on top and create a ring about 12 inches outside the area. You want to either plant several feet away from anything else (especially other trees) or group together for sufficient coverage!

To make sure your tree is properly watered, you should note how much rain the area receives in ten days. If it has at least an inch of water every 10 days then no additional irrigation is needed. For trees that need more water, the best watering method is to use a slow trickling garden hose left at the base of the tree. To determine when to water your plant, simply come by and check around 2 or 3 inches from the soil; if it’s dry then you should add more water.

A year after planting a Black Cherry tree, prune branches in winter. Cut the tree into horizontal shapes and add space between branches to promote growth. Prune once yearly as necessary to remove drooping or weak limbs. Proactively fertilize in the spring and mid-summer with a nitrogen fertilizer twice annually, applying 2 weeks after planting and 4 weeks after the first application. When fertilizing around trees, be sure to space plantings 6 to 8 inches from the trunk of the tree. Avoid applying nitrogen fertilizer after mid-summer if temperatures are predicted below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter months.

Sunglo Nectarine Tree

Sometimes called the Queen of the Nectarines, the Sunglo Nectarine is one of the best performing nectarine trees you can buy. With the Sunglo, you get larger, delicious fruit each season, cold hardy growth, and showy pink blooms for visual interest in spring.

Whether you eat them fresh, freeze them for recipes, or scan them, you’ll enjoy your Sunglo Nectarines year over year. Especially since this self-fertile tree thrives without much care – you get huge harvests without a green thumb.

Sunglo Nectarine Trees are self-fertile. You will get fruit with only one plant. However, adding Sunglo Nectarine Tree will drastically increase the size of your crop. 

Planting & Care

 Plant your Sunglo Nectarine tree in an area with well-draining soil that receives full sun (6 to 8 hours per day). Plant in a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball. After planting, cover the ground with a thick layer of mulch, but leave the area near the trunk bare.

Water deeply after planting to settle the roots. During the first few years, you might need to water weekly during the hottest months. Once established, water as needed during the growing season by simply checking the soil about 2 or 3 inches down – if the soil is dry here, it’s time to water.

After the second year, add a nitrogen-based fertilizer in the late spring or early summer. The best time to prune your Sunglo Nectarine is in its dormant season in winter. Leave one single leader trunk, and prune away any diseased or dead branches. To produce a bigger harvest, thin all crowded branches down to 6 inches apart.

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in Tennessee

Mid to late Fall is the best season to plant in Tennessee. This ensures that your new trees can grow strong roots before winter arrives. 

Can You Plant All Season Long?

The answer is an easy “yes!” The Tennessee Valley Authority, the federal government agency in charge of regulating electricity production and distribution in the southeastern United States, has a monthly planting schedule for trees that you can refer to. In March, April, and May; plant citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons. For June through November (the tail end of winter) plant evergreens like fir or spruce trees. At any time during these periods, consider filling your yard with flowering shrubs such as azaleas or rhododendrons.

What are The Best Trees to Plant Each Season in Tennessee

Springtime

The best trees to plant in the spring are those with a longer growth span, such as flowering cherry trees.

Summertime

The best trees to plant in summer are fruit-producing ones like peach and apple trees. 

Fall time

In Tennessee, it is recommended that you plant shade tree varieties suitable for your geographic location during fall planting season; but be sure they can withstand cold temperatures.

Wintertime

It’s important not to forget about winter when deciding what kind of tree to grow! Consider evergreen types or other plants that can help insulate against harsh conditions.

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in Tennessee

The least invasive trees in Tennessee are Chinese elm  (Ulmus parvifolia), Japanese zelkova  (Zelkova Serrata), and Manila palm, ‘Suyo’ variety, also known as the Weeping Almond tree  (Chamaedorea elegans).