What if you were a tree, rooted to one spot? Surely you would prefer a suitable place to live: dry or wet to suit your taste, hot or cold, in soil acidic or alkaline. Native trees like those here, west of Presser Hall, are adapted to local conditions.
A blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica, just south of the brick path) can grow in many places, but it dearly loves the upland mid-slope forests of the Southeast, where it joins other medium-sized trees to form an understory in acidic, well-drained soil below larger oaks and hickories.
Nonnative trees are sometimes called exotic or alien. Many of these also love Atlanta’s climate, so much so that they are invading our urban forest, upsetting natural processes, and doing harm. Throughout Atlanta, for example, native trees are being swallowed by kudzu, strangled by Chinese wisteria, and out-competed by Chinese privet, tree of heaven, mimosa, and others. Many agencies and groups, such as Trees Atlanta, are working to eradicate invasive species and prevent further damage.