The trees at Myrtle Hill, more than 40 different species, have been added to the Georgia Urban Forest Council’s Landmark and Historic Tree Register.
Rome arborist Terry Paige said the historic magnolias, which line South Broad Street and Myrtle Street, played a big role in the listing, along with the rare September elm near the Harbin mausoleum at the top of the cemetery.
Landmark trees are considered to be an integral part of an individual community and its heritage, while historic trees are considered as being important to the culture and history of the state.
There different variety of trees in the cemetery including blackjack oak, mockernut hickory, pignut hickory, pecan, southern magnolia, sugarberry, sweetgum, red maple, mulberry hybrids, southern catalpa, eastern red cedar, cherry laurel and many others.
The magnolias, 34 of them, were planted to honor veterans from Floyd County who died during World War I, and essentially stand as protectors of the Veterans Plaza featuring the Tomb of the Known Soldier Charles Graves at the base of the historic cemetery. Those trees were donated by the Excelsior Nursery owned by G. H. Miller which closed in the 1950s.
Paige said the September elm is very uncommon.
“It's a red elm that blooms in the fall, September and October," Paige said. "Its natural habitat is on rocky ledges, and that's exactly where it's at, on the side of the mountain near the top right there at the Harbin mausoleum. It's the only one that I know of anywhere around."
The arborist said there is a narrow band of habitat for the September elm that goes from Northwest Georgia across Northern Alabama, the corner of Tennessee into Arkansas and Oklahoma
The Rome Tree Board will celebrate the listing on the Landmark and Historic Register at their April 17 meeting at the cemetery.