Common Trees in Mississippi

common trees mississippi

For many Mississippians, trees are ornamentals. Trees in the area present a huge economic benefit to the State. Mississippi is covered by many forested areas, including the hardwood forests of the northern part of the State, the Magnolia-Beech forests and Longleaf Pine Ecosystem in the south, and swamps and rivers of the Delta in the western part of the State. 

Trees are dominant members of these ecosystems and provide the structure, shelter, and food for other species to live in these habitats. Some of the most common trees you’ll find in Mississippi are:

Pine

Pine trees are natives of Mississippi with the longleaf pines the common type in the region. They are pretty strong trees as shown during Hurricane Katrina. Longleaf pines braved the Katrina 48% better than their cousins loblolly.

Other common pine species in Mississippi are loblolly pines, shortleaf pines, and the slash pine.

Overall pine trees are a great part of the Mississippi forests and play a major role in the State’s economy.

Bald Cypress

Bald cypress is another common tree to find in Mississippi. It’s a native tree to the eastern and southeastern parts of North Carolina to Texas. You’ll also find them in the Ohio river and states bordering Mississippi.

While the trees occur naturally in wetlands, they can grow well in regular soil that is not too dry. You’ll find them in Mississippi Valley at 500 feet elevation.

Red Cedar 

Red cedar is another deciduous native tree of South America. In Mississippi, there are small populations of red cedar. It also goes by other names like the cedar elm or Texas cedar elm.

It grows with a rounded crown hitting heights of 24-27 meters. The tree is also widely found in Mexico and is the most common type of elm in Mexico.

Magnolia 

There are two varieties of magnolia in Mississippi. These are the Southern Magnolia and the Sweetbay magnolia. Southern magnolia is also known as bull bay and can grow up to 27.5 meters high. It’s a strikingly ever-green tree found in Smith County, Mississippi.

The variety also spreads in the De Soto Forest. We also have the Sweetbay Magnolia, which grows up to 30 meters.

Beech 

The American beech is another common tree species in Mississippi. It’s a versatile tree that grows between 16-35 meters high. The tree features a silver-gray bark and dark-green leaves. It’s a native tree to North America and one you can find in the Mountains of Mexico.

Oak 

There are numerous oak tree varieties in Mississippi. There are all varieties of oaks ranging from white oak, swamp chestnut oak, southern red oak, blackjack oak, scarlet oak, post oak, etc.

Oak trees in Mississippi represent physical dominance, with red and brown leaves a common occurrence from the oak trees. Oak trees in Mississippi are a great resource. Natives used cedar bark to make a tea that was used to treat cough.

Maple 

We also have maple trees which are the sturdiest type of trees in the Mississippi State. These trees feature one of the largest root systems that allow them to live over 100 years.

There are a few diseases that harm maple trees. These trees can also withstand cold, heat, and wind.

There are two common types of maple trees to grow in Mississippi. These are the Sugar maple and the red maple. 

Maple trees are great for the backyard growing up to 120 feet tall. They provide excellent shade in your backyard.

Sweetgum 

The Sweetgum tree is a deciduous tree that is also called the American sweetgum. It also has several common names like hazel, alligator wood, star-leaved gum, and satin-walnut.

Sweetgum features star-shaped leaves on the branches, hence the name set-leaved gum. It produces hard-spiked fruits. The tree features a red-brown coloring which is popular for veneer, plywood, and lumber.

Hickory 

Hickory trees are also common in Mississippi, growing up to 39m long. This is a slow-growing deciduous plant native to North America. The trees feature different characteristics.

The leaves alternate along the twig, with the bark coming in a wide array of gray colors.

Tulip Poplar 

The Tulip poplar, also known as a tulip tree, is a North American native tree found in Mississippi. The tree can grow up to 50 meters tall. This is a fast-growing tree in Mississippi without many weak wood problems.

In areas around the Mississippi river, the tree is commonly known as Poplar because of the flattering nature of the leaves. The tree is also referred to as a fiddle.

Flowering Dogwood 

The flowering dogwood is a native tree to North Mexico and eastern North America. It’s widely grown to the east of the Mississippi river. In public and residential areas, the tree is planted for ornamental use.

This is a flowering tree species with a funny bark structure. It’s a small deciduous tree that grows up to 10M tall. The tree is propagated by seeds sown in fall. Germination starts in early spring.

Sugarberry

This is a medium-sized tree found in North America and a common one to see in Mississippi. You can easily recognize the tre due to its bark which features wart-like bumps.

The tree is found in most forests in Mississippi. It is a great choice for furniture, plywood, crates, and athletic goods.

Posted in Mississippi Plants | Leave a comment

Native Species for Backyards – Top Native Plants in Mississippi for Your Backyard Beauty

Native Species for Backyards in Mississippi

These prize-winning plants have a proven record of success in Southern environments, including Mississippi. Here are 9 top native plants in Mississippi that will be beautiful for your backyard.

‘Bloodgood’ Japanese red maple 

This Japanese maple must be America’s favorite; and has stood the test of time. The foliage color of “Bloodgood” is renowned for being exceptional. Fresh leaves have a deep, lasting purple-red color when they first appear. 

The tree is ideal for an Asian-style garden, a foundation planting, or a pond’s edge garden since it provides a vibrant color accent all season long. The foliage turns a fiery scarlet in the fall. Southern locations are the finest for dappled shadows.

Buttonbush

The deciduous buttonbush shrub, which can reach a height of 10 feet, thrives in moist soils close to lakes, swamps, and ponds. This shrub can grow in colonies and has an intriguing open, sprawling look. 

Throughout the summer, a peculiar white globe flower blooms; bees and butterflies frequent it. In the fall, the flower produces a rounded seedhead that various bird species devour. This shrub grows well in regions with shallow water near pond borders.

Frostproof gardenia

The milk-white petals on the completely double blossoms of this frost-resistant gardenia are as soft as child gloves and just as fragrant as the ones your grandma planted. This small shrub has a rounded appearance, grows to a height of 4 to 5 feet, and requires no trimming.

The foliage is glossy and dark green, as is usual for the genus. You might almost recognize yourself there. Plant this gardenia in moist, well-drained soil in full to partial sun.

American beautyberry 

This perennial shrub prefers moist soil and partial shade. It also goes by the name French mulberry. It can get up to three to five feet tall and just as wide, though occasionally, it can go even taller. 

It has tall, arched branches, and the foliage, in the fall and winter, turns yellow-green. It receives its name from the clusters of glossy, purple berries, which are also very advantageous to nearby birds.

Summersweet

Summersweet is a deciduous shrub that typically grows to a height of six feet and a width of four feet. It can be found in bogs, pocosins, and moist, acidic soils of wet pine savannas. The lovely, serrated, dark green leaves have yellow fall color.

 Early in the summer, spikes of white flowers with a sweet scent emerge. Summersweet is a great plant to use in naturalistic landscapes because of its upright appearance and medium-textured foliage.

Tag Alder

This large deciduous shrub has a maximum height of fifteen feet. Tag alder is frequently found in branch bottoms and flatwoods, where the soil is damp and acidic. 

The elliptic-shaped leaves have a delicately serrated edge. In the late fall, this alder produces long, thin ‘catkin’ blooms that become obtrusively beautiful in the early spring. 

The shrub is a great specimen shrub because of its twisted, crooked trunk. Numerous bird species eat the seeds, and deer and beavers eat the stems and leaves.

‘Burgundy’ fringe flower

The fringe flowers known as “Burgundy” and “Blush” were introduced to the United States in 1989 from Japan. These perennials are uncommon pink-flowered varieties of a plant that typically has white flowers. These intriguing witch hazel family members are sadly underutilized. 

Burgundy grows 6 to 10 feet tall, while Blush is a little more diminutive and compact. Both produce outrageously pink flowers in April. They favor acidic, moist, well-drained soils with full light.

Eastern redbud

A perennial tree, the eastern redbud prefers moist soil and full to partial shade. It produces lovely pink flowers in bloom. When fully grown, this tree can reach heights of 15 to 30 feet and has a broad, umbrella-like crown. When the pink blooms start to appear, it is incredibly stunning.

The best conditions for growing eastern redbud are moist, well-drained soil and either full sun or just a little shade. Plan for the full growth it will eventually achieve when you plant something fresh.

It thrives in environments with good air circulation to prevent fungal growth and is highly pH-adaptable.

Witch Alder

Witch alder is a deciduous shrub that grows to a maximum height and breadth of eight feet. It occasionally appears in the acid soils of dry woodlands with good drainage. In naturalistic settings, witch alder works well as an understory shrub because of its erect to pyramidal appearance.

The big-toothed leaves turn red or orange in the fall. Early spring brings out the sweet-smelling, creamy-white bottlebrush blooms.

According to LivingBoosts.com, native plants will make gardening easier for you and improve the quality of your blooms. This is due to the fact that native plants in Mississippi are already accustomed to the local climatic conditions. When compared with other plants, they don’t need fertilizers and use fewer (if any) pesticides. They require less watering than other plants and aid in preventing soil erosion.

Posted in Mississippi Plants, Ornamental Gardens | Leave a comment

Invasive Plants – Top Invasive Plants in Mississippi

invasive plants mississippi

The habitats around the Mississippi River are home to numerous invasive plant species that are so successful that they even displace native plants that are in their path. They have the potential to injure in the most direct manner since they rapidly widen their territories and lack natural rivals and predators. The invasive species are a real problem in Mississippi and throughout the world because they:

  • out-compete native species of plants
  • change the soil
  • contribute to erosion
  • eliminate habitat for animals and other organisms

More than 350 species of invasive plants are known to occur in Mississippi. Some of the worst invasive plants of Mississippi are:

  • Kudzu
  • Water hyacinth
  • Alligator weed
  • Japanese honeysuckle
  • Tallow tree
  • Cogongrass
  • Chinese privet
  • Mimosa
  • Japanese climbing fern
  • Chinese wisteria

Kudzu

Kudzu is a climbing, semi-woody, perennial vine that is a member of the pea family. Kudzu can grow up to 50 feet (15 meters) every year. It was planted in Mississippi to stop the state’s severe soil erosion, which afflicted it in the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. 

In the summer, kudzu can grow up to a foot daily and engulf telephone poles, buildings, fences, and trees. Kudzu damages buildings and kills trees and other plant life in the understory. Damages from this vine total more than $100 million.

Water hyacinth

The water hyacinth may be the worst aquatic weed on the planet. It was distributed as a water garden ornamental known for its lovely blossoms, and it has since escaped into marshes and streams all over the world. It is one of the fastest-growing plants known to man, displacing native vegetation, fish, and wildlife. It also interferes with water transportation, hinders recreational fishing, and restricts water intakes at dams that produce hydroelectric power. One hundred twenty-five thousand acres of open water in Florida were formerly covered with up to 200 tons of water hyacinth each acre.

Alligator weed

Alligatorweed is becoming a serious problem in south Mississippi, where it is taking over large areas of wetlands that would otherwise be home to native wetland plants. It can grow in both wet and dry fields. Typically, it develops as a mat of entwined plants. Alligatorweed’s expansion has been curbed by a South American leaf beetle that was introduced in the 1980s for biological control, but it has not yet been completely eradicated.

Japanese honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckle is a well-known plant in the southern environment that supplies deer and other wildlife with year-round forage. It frequently occurs in disturbed regions, fence rows, and woodland openings. 

However, the thick development of this plant diminishes the variety of native species available to wildlife, crowds out native flora, and can slow or kill young trees. Instead of the exotic Japanese honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, Cross Vine, and Coral Honeysuckle are good alternative native vines for home landscaping.

Tallow tree

The Chinese tallow tree is well-liked as a landscape tree because of its vibrant fall foliage and rapid development. Due to its lengthy taproot, it spreads swiftly, reproduces freely, and is challenging to contain. Following extensive incursions of wetlands from Texas to Florida, several states are in the process of outlawing the sale of Chinese tallow.

Cogongrass

The non-native, invasive grass known as cogongrass is ranked among the “Top 10 Worst Weeds in the World.” It affects a variety of things, including pine productivity and survival, wildlife habitat, outdoor activities, native flora, fire behavior, and site management expenses.

Chinese privet

Chinese privet grows in dense thickets along roadsides, fence rows, fields, rights-of-way, and in the bottoms of wooded creeks across the South. These shrubs have multiple branches and usually grow to 10 to 20 feet. 

Privet, an olive family member, produces a lot of seeds and swiftly regenerates by root shoots building dense stands. Due to its dense stand formation, it crowds out natural plants and trees, especially hardwoods.

Mimosa

Although the mimosa tree was intended to be an ornamental tree, it escaped cultivation and is now seen growing in many different places throughout the Southeast United States. It faces competition with local species for nutrients, water, and light. It grows next to streams, in forests, and in clearings, as well as by roadsides.

Japanese climbing fern

Native to Asia and Australia, this perennial climbing fern was introduced as an ornamental. It has slender stems resembling a vine, but its above-ground parts are triangular-shaped fronds.

 Native flora is displaced and smothered, and it poses a risk of forest fires by acting as a ladder fuel for bushfires to ascend into tree crowns. The climbing fern reproduces by producing spores carried by the wind or sticks to tools, outfits, and animals.

Chinese wisteria

Usually, wisteria grows around old houses. The two wisteria species that have escaped into the eastern United States are Chinese wisteria and Japanese wisteria. When wisteria is well-established, it can be challenging to get rid of and cling to nearby trees and plants for years. They can destroy or alter desirable trees in the landscape.

Posted in Mississippi Plants | Leave a comment