A tour through south Greenwood County and part of McCormick on Wednesday revealed how severe the storm was Thursday of last week. Even though roads had been cleared to passable levels it reminded me that trees as susceptible to Mother Nature’s fury. Many trees fell prey to violent winds, while some survived with little damage.

Some of the hardest hit areas were around local homes and homesteads with large trees uprooted or large branches of trees broken out. This was no afternoon breeze and I sympathize with homeowners who face large cleanup tasks. Even large tough oaks were pulled down with uprooted roots sticking up. Tops were torn out of large oak trees in Bradley. An oak tree with three stems coming up from the ground had each part break away in different directions until there was little left standing. Large and tall pine trees in some areas were uprooted by wet soils and severe winds. Many trees were in or near homes and other buildings.

All this got me to thinking about different trees and why we choose certain trees to plant in our yards for shade, flowers, leaf color and general beauty. When I saw large trees torn out of the ground it reminded me also that when we plant trees in our yard we need to think about where they are in relationship to homes and other buildings.

Part of our Master Gardener class deals with trees and shrubs and proper selection, planting and pruning as needed. Several general rules come to mind with our tree planting education classes. If and/or when you are planning to add trees to a landscape you consider.

These include such things as whether a tree will grow in the spot where you plan to plant it. We have many large water, willow and other oak trees which grow to very large sizes so they might not fit in every small front or back yard. If you like Crape Myrtles like I do, you want to have a good sunny location so they will have good growth and flowering for many years. One thing about Crape Myrtles is that they are a good summer flowering trees and most are of medium size and rarely get larger than 20-30 feet on the larger cultivars.

One place I would not recommend larger cultivars of Crape Myrtles is near a swimming pool this time of year. The flowers are starting to come out and they only last a few weeks and if your prevailing wind is not good then you can spend time cleaning the spent blooms from your pool. Regardless of what trees you select it is important to locate in a place where it fits the conditions and provide pleasure for many years. Our Master Gardener classes spend an entire class on tree selection, planting and maintenance. I hope that residents of the area get things back to normal soon after this terrible storm.

Fall Master Gardener Class informational meetingWe will have a free informational meeting from 6-8 p.m. July 15 at the Extension office in Greenwood for those who might be interested in the class. Fall classes will begin in mid-August and run until mid-November on from 6-9 p.m. Members of the LMGA will be on hand to answer questions about their association and provide information on the partial scholarship process for the class for those interested. Cost of the class is $300.

If you plan to attend the meeting, contact me at 864-223-3264 X 116 so I can prepare handout information.

James Hodges is a Clemson Extension agent in Greenwood County. He can be reached at 864-223-3264.