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Native Trees

This page is a work in progress...

Plants co- evolved usually in a symbiotic relationship with other organisms and other trees. For example, caterpillars eat tree leaves. They will not denude their host tree because the leaves of thenative tree have just enough chemical toxins for the caterpillars to meet its needs without poisoning them. So the caterpillars eat but not enough to get sick. Where as the invasive exotic gypsy moth will eat all the foliage and kill the tree. By comparison, a nonnative tree might deliver so much toxicity in their leaves might kill the native caterpillar.

Not all trees provide equal benefits to wildlife. Some like oaks, native cherries, and birches provide more to wildlife. The oaks can have at least 150 other organisms living on them. High lipid fruiting trees, such as dogwood, Tupelo, , viburnum, spice bush all provide fruits with fat for the migrating birds. Birds need insects in the spring, with some sugary fruits in the spring, later they need lipids fruits. Some non-natives provide fruits, but not the right chemistry at the time of year required by the species. Exotic invasives (species from other countries that are so aggressive they out compete the native plants) can and do overtake a native community. Thus limiting many other organisms that depend on these native diminished plants. Exotic invasives have a higher seed amounts and dispersal, holding on to leaves later in the fall than the natives, growing faster and overarching over a native community blocking out the sun, and hogging the water in the ground.


All plants have value, but the wrong plant can change our local ecology. If our model is to do no harm, and exotic invasives have done harm to the local environment, then it make sense to limit their numbers.

The reason we are only including natives on these lists is due to the importance of the mutual

relationships between natives and their biotic communities.


Did you know the tree planting season in Wilmington is October to February (and not in the spring). 

Our mild winter months give newly planted trees a 2 to 3 month head start in establishing roots so they can better survive our hot summers!

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