Did you know that Oakland is home to more than 1,600 trees, from majestic oaks to mighty magnolias, to demure crape myrtles and dogwoods? Oakland’s trees feed and shelter wildlife, help reduce air pollution and provide welcome shade for visitors. Many stand as living memorials to generations past.
Since 1982, however, Oakland Cemetery has lost close to 50% of its treasured tree canopy to drought, pollution, lightning strikes, pests, and other causes. Sick and dying trees pose a risk to visitor safety and to the historic monuments and healthy trees within the cemetery.
Fortunately, Historic Oakland Foundation is committed to preserving and protecting Oakland’s tree canopy for generations to come. Each year, we invest thousands of dollars in providing soil therapy, professional pruning, lightning protection, and other care for Oakland Cemetery’s celebrated canopy.
This month, in honor of Earth Day, we’re highlighting a few of Oakland’s most beautiful trees.
Mossy Cup Oak – near the Bell Tower
This tree is part of Oakland’s canopy replacement efforts. As a historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places, we are required to replace dead or diseased trees with similar trees. This mossy cup oak replaced a nearby water oak that had to be removed. This tree is highly ornamental for an oak, and it is strong wooded and long lived, making it an excellent replacement tree.
Southern Magnolia – near the Confederate Section
Following the Civil War, the brother of Private Lucien Brahan Weakley planted a magnolia next to Private Weakley’s grave to honor his passing. The tree still stands today, 133 years later – with Weakley’s gravestone leaning against it – providing shade over much of the Confederate section. It has become an irreplaceable living legacy.
Flowering Dogwood – Out in the Rain Fountain
This dogwood tree has become almost as iconic to the Oakland landscape as the Out in the Rain fountain itself. This tree is not only beautiful but also is particularly important to wildlife, especially for Oakland’s bird population, providing food and a nesting site. While dogwoods are relatively small at maturity and are not truly part of the canopy, they offer lovely pink or white flowers in the spring and stunning red fall foliage color.
The Cherry Laurel tree is native to the southeast, and this tree, in particular, is very special because it’s actually the city champion Cherry Laurel – the largest of its kind in the city of Atlanta. Sadly, this tree suffers from many of the same conditions that a lot of urban trees suffer from, with restricted root volume due to sidewalks, walls, monuments, gravesites, and roadways. In order to keep this tree as healthy as possible, we treat both the soil and the roots to help invigorate them.