I have a question that kind of relates to a little bit of geology. This is a two part question. The first part is, I am wondering if holly trees can grow on ridges. I am referring to ridges like a chain of hills or mountains. The other part is, what are a few types of trees that can grow on ridges? I know some oaks do, and specific pines; are there any others?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Daniel in Maryland: The simple answer to your question is that as long as there is sufficient moisture, light, and soil conditions, most any tree could happily grow on a ridge, including hollies. The most common trees species that make up the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains in your state are beech, yellow poplar, oaks, hickories, and black gums. These trees tend to like the drier/rockier conditions found at the top of the ridges. Elevation does come into play and it also makes a difference what side of a ridge the trees are growing on. If a ridge runs north and south, it has an east and a west side. In this case, there would not be much of a difference between what would grow on either side because they would get equal sun and probably the same in terms of moisture levels. If the ridge runs east and west, there is a north side and a south side. This is where you will notice a difference in plant species because the south side tends to be much drier than the north side since it does not receive the amount of sunlight that the south side does. So, if you are planting on a ridge you will need to take these conditions into consideration before planting. Hopefully this has answered your question, but if you want more information you can contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources/Forest Service.