Gardening with Native or Naturalized Trees

Gardening with native or naturalized trees, along with native or naturalized plants, has several advantages over dealing with plants from other regions or areas. Before exploring this process, however, let’s look at some terms.

  • Native Trees. As you might guess, these are trees that grow wild or that once grew wild in your area. They are well acclimated to climate, soil, and seasons in your local area.
  • Naturalized Trees. A naturalized tree (or naturalized plant) is one that has been introduced to your area long enough ago that it has now gone wild. There is a fine line between a tree or plant that has been naturalized and an invasive species. In fact, there can be some overlap.
  • Invasive species. This is a plant or animal that has been introduced into your ecosystem. It likes the change so much that it is simply taking over. Frequently, this happens when the tree, plant or animal is introduced into a system where it does not have any natural predators, companions or pollinators.

Australian Trees in Our Nursery

  • Glauca Grass Trees are native to Australia. These sturdy succulents can grow to be as much as fifteen feet tall. In their earliest stages, the spikey grass-like topknot make attractive border hummocks. But it is a good idea to keep them at the back of a bed, spaced well apart, since they can become quite large.
  • Queensland Bottle Trees. If you are looking for a good tree for shade or as an accent to your garden, then look no farther. The bottle tree’s distinctive shape, which resembles a classic wine bottle, creates an opportunity for conversation. More than that, they are a good source of emergency food if you are caught in a drought or some other situations where food or water or both are limited.

Naturalized Trees in Our Nursery

  • Dragon Trees. Originally from the Canary Islands, these interesting monocots are grown around the world, and are frequently found in nurseries, greenhouses and even in department stores. They are easy to grow, although they might not bloom if they are always kept inside. Normally, they will bloom when they are between seven or fifteen years of age, but only when conditions are perfect for them.
  • Tahitian Limes. Originally grown in China, these are actually a hybrid. They are milder in flavor than key limes, and are easily grown in Australia. They do not, however, usually “go native” which makes them a naturalized tree rather than an invasive species. There is an Australian lime, the finger lime, but that is a completely different story.
  • These interesting fruits originated in Central America and southern Mexico. They are a tropical tree, and require a lot of water and a bit of coddling. They are, however, delicious and well worth the extra effort. Because of their particular growing habits, they are not likely to become a nuisance tree.
  • Olive trees easily naturalize in areas where the summers are hot and dry and the winters are mild. They can spread into the wild, which means that they have the potential to become a nuisance tree in some of the southern parts of Australia. The spread of olive trees can easily be controlled, however, but being careful to pick all the fruit and to clean up any that have landed on the ground.

Why it is important to learn about native, naturalized and invasive trees and plants

As attractive and enchanting as some plants can be, when they are grown in an area where they are not native, there is the potential for them to become an invasive species. As far as that goes, some native plants in any area can have the effect of crowding out other desirable plants.

The trees that are planted in your garden have the potential to affect, not only your own growing area, but that of the people who live near you, as well as the wilderness areas in your location. Learning about the growing habits of the species you introduce into your garden can be fascinating. It can also help you to have a more enjoyable gardening experience because knowing about the plants and trees in  your garden is almost certain to help produce better results.

When you visit our tree nursery, we’ll be happy to share information about our trees. In some ways, purchasing a tree to take home is a little like adopting a parrot. Trees live a long time, they are likely to continue growing long after you have planted them. They are both a responsibility and a legacy to future generations.


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