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  • Jon Gallant

Grow Native: Planting North Carolina Native Trees

Discover the Rich Diversity of North Carolina Native Trees: A Guide for Raleigh and surrounding areas


In the lush landscapes of North Carolina, native trees play a pivotal role in creating vibrant ecosystems, offering shade, beauty, and habitats for wildlife. For homeowners, landscapers, and nature enthusiasts in Apex, NC, and surrounding areas, understanding the variety and benefits of North Carolina native trees can transform gardens into serene, eco-friendly spaces that thrive year-round. This guide aims to spotlight the unique characteristics and advantages of planting native trees, emphasizing their importance in our local environment.



American Holly (Ilex opaca): 

American Holly (Ilex opaca)

A vibrant evergreen, the American Holly thrives in a range of well-drained soils and can brighten urban areas with its tolerance for pollution. Its red berries and glossy, dark green leaves offer a striking contrast in winter, making it a favorite for privacy screens and as a habitat for wildlife, including pollinators and birds.


Black Cherry (Prunus serotina): 

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

This versatile tree is known for its white spring flowers and dark purple berries that attract a variety of wildlife. It grows well in full sun and moist soils, making it a stunning addition to woodland gardens and spaces designed for pollinators.

Carolina Silverbell (Halesia Carolina):

Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina)

With its bell-shaped flowers and preference for partial shade, the Carolina Silverbell is perfect for understory planting. It’s a charming addition to any garden, particularly when paired with rhododendrons and azaleas for a springtime bloom spectacle.

Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana):

Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)

This robust evergreen offers year-round greenery and privacy. It’s well-suited for hedges and screens, thriving in a variety of conditions from full sun to partial shade and demonstrating a strong tolerance for drought once established.


Chickasaw Plum (Prunus angustifolia):

Chickasaw Plum (Prunus angustifolia)

A wildlife haven, this deciduous shrub or small tree features early spring flowers and edible fruits that attract an array of birds and mammals. It’s ideal for a natural, low-maintenance landscape.


Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis):

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

A majestic evergreen, the Eastern Hemlock prefers shaded, moist areas and provides dense cover for wildlife. Its presence is a statement in any shade or woodland garden, though it’s important to be vigilant about the pest, Hemlock woolly adelgid.


Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana):

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Hardy and versatile, this tree adapts well to a range of conditions, including drought and salt. It’s an excellent choice for windbreaks, screens, and wildlife habitats, offering year-round greenery and berries for birds.


Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Florida):

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Florida)

A symbol of spring with its beautiful white blooms, this tree thrives under the canopy of larger trees. It’s a fantastic choice for adding seasonal interest and supporting wildlife in smaller gardens.


Fraser Fir (Abeis fraseri):

Fraser Fir (Abeis fraseri)

Beloved as a Christmas tree, this evergreen is best suited to cooler mountain climates. It’s a scenic addition to high-elevation gardens, offering a fragrant, picturesque setting.


Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis):

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

An excellent urban tree, Hackberry is resilient, providing shade and habitat with minimal fuss. It’s a great pick for streetscapes and public spaces needing a touch of nature.


Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana):

Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana)

With their sprawling branches, these majestic trees are a staple in warmer regions, offering dense shade and a habitat for various wildlife. They’re perfect for large spaces needing a grand, natural focal point.


Mountain Ash (Sorbus Americana):

Mountain Ash (Sorbus Americana)

Ideal for cooler, elevated areas, this tree dazzles with its berries and fall color. It’s a fantastic choice for adding vertical interest to landscapes in the mountains or higher Piedmont areas.


Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana):

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Offering stunning fall color and delicious fruits, Persimmons is a dual-purpose tree that enhances any garden or naturalized area. They’re adaptable and can thrive in urban settings.


Possumhaw (Ilex decidua):

Possumhaw (Ilex decidua)

This deciduous holly brightens winter landscapes with its vibrant red berries. It’s an excellent choice for adding seasonal interest and supporting a wide range of wildlife.


Redbud (Cercis canadensis):

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

A harbinger of spring, the Redbud’s pink blooms are a delightful sight. Perfect for small spaces, this tree adds a splash of color and is friendly to pollinators.


Red Maple (Acer rubrum):

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

A versatile and beautiful tree, the Red Maple offers stunning fall color and is suited to a variety of landscapes. It’s a top choice for adding year-round interest to any garden.


Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis):

Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)

With its spring blooms and edible berries, this tree is a wildlife magnet and a culinary treat. It’s a beautiful addition to any garden, blending ornamental and functional gardening.


Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora):

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Known for its large, fragrant flowers, this evergreen is a classic choice for Southern landscapes, providing beauty and shade.


Winged Sumac (Rhus copallinum):

Winged Sumac (Rhus copallinum)

A great choice for naturalized areas, this tree offers striking fall color and a habitat for wildlife. It’s easy to grow and manage, ideal for low-maintenance landscapes.


Cultivating a Greener Future

Incorporating North Carolina native trees into your landscape isn't just a nod to the state's rich biodiversity; it's a step towards building more resilient and sustainable outdoor spaces. Native trees are adapted to local climates and soils, requiring less water, fertilizer, and maintenance, which in turn supports local wildlife and conserves resources.


Partner with Apex's Premier Tree Company

For those in Raleigh, NC, looking to enhance their landscape with these beautiful and beneficial North Carolina native trees, partnering with a knowledgeable tree company is key. Whether you're enhancing your property's natural beauty, or contributing to local biodiversity, our expertise in native trees can help you create a living space that thrives.


Take the Next Step Towards a Lush, Vibrant Landscape

Are you ready to transform your property with the natural elegance and ecological benefits of North Carolina native trees? Contact Apex Tree Company today. Our team of experts is here to guide you through selecting, planting, and caring for the perfect native trees for your space, ensuring your garden not only looks beautiful but also contributes positively to the local ecosystem.

For additional information on North Carolina Native Trees please visit the following sites:

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