Information for the Public

The trees that comprise our urban forests--from home landscapes to cities--are vital to the quality of our lives! 

Around our homes trees surround us with the seasonal beauty of their leaves and flowers, and their attractive bark and branch architecture. They offer privacy and hide unsightly views. Trees and shrubs provide food, shelter, and nesting for wildlife. Pollen and nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees are additional bonuses. Their roots keep soil in place and increase water movement into soil to reduce surface runoff from storms.

Trees save energy and money. The shade provided by deciduous trees planted on the southeastern and western sides of your home can reduce indoor temperatures by 8 to 10 degrees in the summer and reduce air conditioning costs up to 30 percent. In the winter, their leafless branches allow the sun to warm our homes.

When trees are used as a windbreak on the north side of a home to intercept cold winter winds, they can save from 10 to 50 percent in heating costs.

Trees in our towns and cities enliven our downtown areas. They hide harsh scenery and soften the hard outlines of masonry, metal, and glass. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and in return replenish the environment with oxygen.

Depending on your vocation or avocation relative to planting, designing, selecting, and caring for trees, this site offers will provide you with the resources and educational opportunities you need that will make you a better steward of our urban trees.  This site also celebrates the importance of trees in our landscapes and communities.

SPRING: Planting & care

Planting Trees Correctly: Proper planting leads to the successful establishment of shrubs and trees in your landscape, which become a living, growing investment. First, select shrubs and trees that match the conditions in your landscape. Then, plant them properly. 

Dogwood: The flowering dogwood is the species most people think of when the word dogwood is mentioned. Although it is considered one of the favorite trees in the south, there are two other species, kousa dogwood and Cornelian cherry dogwood, that will grow in all areas of South Carolina except along the coast from Charleston to Savannah, Ga. The flowering dogwood is adapted to all areas of the state

Small fruits: Become a part of the edible landscaping movement by integrating small fruits that offer ornamental interest and produce tasty and nutritious fruits into flower beds and borders. My short-list of “cross-over” edibles includes fruiting plants that are native and relatively pest-resistant, which include blackberry, blueberry, pawpaw, fig, persimmon, pomegranate, and muscadine grape.

Selecting Good Vegetable Seeds or Plants: Choosing and purchasing good-quality vegetable seeds and transplants is important to successful gardening.

Summer- & Fall-Flowering Bulbs 

Dividing Perennials

Hanging Baskets & Window Boxes: If you choose plants carefully, you can change the plantings to suit every season. 

see all fact sheets on "trees" >

see all fact sheets on "shrubs" >

Home & Garden

The Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC) provides research-based information on landscaping, gardening, plant health, household pests, food safety & preservation, and nutrition, physical activity & health. 1-888-656-9988 (SC residents only, 9 am - 1 pm, M - F). You can also search their site using this search box: