In Louisiana, it's typically not hard to grow trees. Many people have a tree in their yard that they didn't plant themselves! But for those of you who are looking to spruce up your backyard with some new greenery, we've got the perfect guide for you: a Louisiana Guide to Growing Trees.
The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Louisiana
Red Tropical Hibiscus Tree
If you love having color in your landscape, but don't have the time or inclination to put it there yourself, consider purchasing a tropical Hibiscus Tree. These leafy trees produce bursts of dramatic red blooms from July to October that makes beautiful centerpieces for tables. This tree makes a wonderful pot plant that will grow anywhere when potted in the right container. You can trim off 3/4 of its branches to encourage larger blooms if you cut them back in late spring. The crimson flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, making for a breathtaking scene in any garden setting.
Planting & Care
After determining the full sun (around 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily) area and well-drained soil, plant your Red Hibiscus. Once you have determined your location, dig a hole large enough for the root ball as needed. If planting in a container, choose one that is twice the size of your shrub's current shipping pot. Fill with organic soil, then place the shrub and find a sunny spot for it. It's good to water your shrub at least once a week. When you do, make sure the soil is damp about 2 or 3 inches down to encourage growth. Use an appropriate fertilizer during the spring so that it blooms and follows label instructions.
NE Plus Almond Tree
You know spring has arrived when a blanket of flowers gives way to bright pink-white blooms and thick green leaves. The NE Plus tree is perfect for many landscapes, resistant to pests, disease, and about the right size. Pink blooms welcome spring with a hue unmatched by any other plant color. And throughout the summertime, you'll just love its rich green foliage that adds dimension to your yard.
Planting & Care
Plant your tree in areas of the yard that are well-drained and do not flood. Carefully unpack the root ball from its container and examine it for damage. Plant the tree with the root collar level with the surrounding soil, making sure to fill any air pockets around the roots as you go. Take care in watering your newly planted trees so as not to overwater them but also maintain moisture levels before adding a mulch layer to discourage competition for water resources and preserve soil moisture losses through evaporation over prolonged periods. Care for your tree by checking the soil every few days. If it feels like the ground is dry about three inches down, give your tree a drink of water by holding a hose at its base and counting to thirty seconds. It's best to wait two years before fertilizing. Feed your tree with a balanced organic fertilizer in the winter or early spring. It is best to prune fruit-bearing branches while they are still dormant (before leaf emergence). Dead or broken limbs should be removed and branches should never cross each other.
The Best Shade Trees in Louisiana
West Coast Live Oak
The eye-catching evergreen foliage and florals in the spring are just two of the reasons to buy a West Coast Live Oak Tree. It’s easy for most people in Louisiana to grow oak trees that are one of a kind. They are slow-growing and need practically no care after the first few seasons. Merging care with design, you’ll love this tree whether it’s placed in your yard or another.
Planting & Care
Louisiana's climate has the perfect conditions for live oaks, but you'll need to follow these planting guidelines. First, choose an area with a large number of hours of sun-hours per day and enough space for your tree's root ball. Next, dig a hole deep enough to support your shade tree when you've finished planting it and maintain the right level of soil moisture while it establishes itself. The West Coast Live Oak can be grown in a variety of regions, but it is the most drought tolerant when planted in the Louisiana area. Over the first year after planting, its watering needs are on par with an average outdoor plant. After the first growing season has passed and as it reaches 10 ft., letting rain take over should suffice. But if you’re unsure when to water your tree, check the surrounding soil in a 2-3 inch depth. If it is dry, time to water the tree. No fertilizer necessary for West Coast Oaks because they will amend their soil over time with its leaves. July or August are the best months for pruning trees, removing branches and any damaged material when you start trimming them.
The hackberry has a nearly unstoppable resilience that allows it to thrive in nearly every type of soil, heat, a large number of hours and cold, and even non-existent garden care. These trees can grow and flourish, even with minimal care. The tree's shape maintains itself over time with only minimal pruning. It is a dark green canopy of leaves year-round, and in the fall, its leaves turn yellow or yellow-green while carrying small orange or red fruits. If you're looking for a tree that will mature quickly and have increased hardiness towards floods or droughts, hackberry is a perfect choice. This tree can grow anywhere from thirteen to twenty-four inches per year and become incredibly hardy when exposed to either flooding or drought conditions. The hackberry tree provides shade and privacy while being perfect for wildlife. Butterflies including the mourning cloak and tawny emperor often flock to this tree, while robins, cedar waxwings, and mockingbirds hide in its branches too. The Hackberry is a great alternative to the Elm as it looks identical but isn't as prone to disease - that means guests can enjoy an impressive view without concern.
Planting & Care
Grow your hackberry at a location with well-drained soil and ample sun. For the best growth, it needs about 3 hours to 7 hours per day of sunlight. When you’ve found an appropriate plot for planting your tree, dig a hole 2 times the size of its root ball, place it in the hole and backfill with dirt while watering it in. Your Hackberry tree will survive in demanding conditions, but for the first few seasons, it needs to be well-watered with a blend of water and fertilizer. To provide yourself with some shaping control, you can trim your trees in the spring months.
The Best Fruit Trees in Louisiana
Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree
This dwarf cavendish banana tree is a cinch to take care of. It all starts by planting seed or cutting some part of the plant and then setting it in a container filled with organic soil orchid mix. Not only are these Dwarf Cavendish Bananas uniquely dwarf-sized, but they also thrive when container-planted. This enables you to take your tree with you so it can stay in fresh air and sunshine all year round. Dwarf Cavendish trees grow leaves up to four feet long and provide privacy to your outdoor space. They will have red tinges when young, which is followed by green leaves and sizable flowers that produce bananas before the tree dies out.
Planting & Care
The perfect lighting for Cavendish bananas is summer suns light. To get the best results from indoor growth, position next to a large sunny window with southern or western exposure. To grow a Cavendish in Louisiana, be sure to dig the hole large enough for the root system and then gently backfill with soil, tamp down to avoid air pockets. If you are planting in a container, select one that is twice the size of your shipped container and line it with organic potting soil. Push your tree into that and place it near a sunny window. To water, check the soil 2 or 3 inches below the dirt. If there is still a lot of soil to see and it's dry, it’s time to add some water. Fertilize organically with compost, well-composted manure, or other organic fertilizers for nutrients. Mulch can be made up of leftover banana leaves and trimmings to help put more potassium back into the plant. When bananas produce shoots, harvest flowers before they reach fruition as this will encourage larger banana plants. Dwarf Cavendish Banana Trees are self-fertile. You will get fruit with only one plant. However, adding just one more Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree will greatly increase the size of your crop.
Owari Satsuma Mandarin Tree
The Owari Mandarin, also known as a Satsuma, is the cold hardiest of orange trees. It can be grown anywhere; outside or inside in containers. While most mandarin varieties are limited to warm, tropical climates, this hybrid variety offers a special temperature-tolerant trait—it can grow anywhere in the country. This means you get delicious fresh oranges from your Owari tree no matter where it is planted. They're also great for cold climates, and they're easy to grow. Though you might not be able to tell the difference easily, they must taste better than store-bought: The Owaris are easy to peel and have few seeds.
Planting & Care
The best location for your younger tree will be in a location that receives 6-8 hours of sun per day. Humidity is also necessary, so you may need to mist the leaves daily with water. Potted plants should not be moved into freezing temperatures. Have a pot that is larger than what it was shipped in (1 to 2 pot sizes) with drainage holes at the bottom, and pick well-draining soil for containers. Begin by setting a weekly watering schedule to ensure your tree's success. After watering the top 2 to 3 inches of soil, allow it to dry out completely before watering again, but for potted trees water when your index finger reaches 2" down into the soil and stop if you feel any moisture. Once you're ready to water, stop once you see water escaping from the drainage holes at the pot base. Although this tree has the potential to produce its fruit, it may produce a higher yield if pollinated by hand. To do this, take a dry paintbrush and stick it into the center of the blossom. Swirl it around to collect pollen on the brush. Then go to the next bloom and repeat the process until every bloom has been treated. By falling off naturally, blossoms will produce more fruit that can support a large number of animals and people in your area. During the warmer spring and summer seasons, feed your mandarin tree with a citrus-specific organic fertilizer once every six weeks. In the fall and winter, fertilize it only every 2 to 3 months. To thin out the tree and to make it more attractive, one can prune Mandarins at any time of the year EXCEPT winter. Pruning such trees should be done by making 45-degree angle cuts (for sturdier branches) on dead or crossing limbs as well as removing suckers that form from the base.
When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in Louisiana
Fall is a great time to plant trees in Louisiana! The temperatures are cooling off, the leaves are changing color and falling from the trees, it's the perfect time to get outside and start planting. One of my favorite things about fall is getting out into nature. There's nothing better than being surrounded by all of those beautiful colors as we head towards winter.
Can You Plant All Season Long?
The answer to that question is yes, you can plant all season long in Louisiana as long as you know what plants will grow best in your region and make sure that the weather is appropriate.
What are The Best Trees to Plant Each Season in Louisiana
In the Springtime, you can plant flowering trees, fruit trees, or hardwood to provide shade for the summer. Some of the favorite flowering and fruit trees that are native to Louisiana are peach tree, pear tree, persimmon tree, figs-ficus carica (a type of evergreen), and dogwood (another type of evergreen). Some good choices for hardwoods include elms are Ulmus americana and maple. Elm trees make great shade providers as well as offer some protection from wind because they're so large! Maple on the other hand has beautiful leaves that turn red in the fall and provides lots of shade for those who don't want to rake leaves!
The best trees to plant in the Summertime are the live oak and bald cypress because they are both fast-growing trees that produce lots of shade. Live oaks grow about seventy-five feet in height, so you'll want to make sure you plan accordingly if planting one of these beauties. If you're looking for a shorter tree, then I recommend planting either an olive or a holly as well!
The best tree to plant during this time of year would be an oak tree because they have such beautiful foliage with their deep green leaves that turn shades of orange-red in the fall. Another type of tree you might want to consider planting is a tulip poplar, which has purple leaves that can turn yellow or red when frost appears on them in late autumn or early winter.
While you can plant any type of tree during the winter, it is best to plant a cypress or bald cypress because they are evergreen and will provide lots of shade in warmer months while the other types of trees may not be as effective at doing so.
What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in Louisiana
The list of least invasive trees in Louisiana includes eastern red cedar, lilac, willow, honey locust, mulberry, and eastern redbud.