Choosing a Tree To Plant

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Planting trees is one of the easiest yet effective means of giving your garden or your yard a face-lift. Trees can provide shade in summer and protect you from harsh, chilly winds in the winter. Aside from these, they can enhance privacy all while increasing real estate values at the same time. There are plenty of choices if you�re planning to plant a tree. These depend on the size, shape, growth habits and care needed, so choose carefully, because the tree you pick will have long-lasting consequences.

The first step in tree selection is to determine the type of tree appropriate for your property and your needs. Climate and soil play big roles. For example, if you plant a date palm, it might have difficulty surviving the winter season in Chicago. And a water-hungry willow would starve in the desert sands. The tree species you are planning to get can flourish in your local climate and soil conditions (designated hardiness zone).

Another important factor in selecting a tree is matching it to the surrounding locality. Think about the size of the area within which your new tree will be situated. Will that spindly sapling you just bought still be able to fit after 20 or 30 years? Is an oak or a willow, either very large when fully grown, the best tree for a small front lawn in a city? The proximity of the tree to the surrounding houses, buildings, sidewalks, driveways, utility lines, and septic systems should also be considered. Trees spread out both above and below ground and branch overhang and root growth can cause considerable damage and incur considerable expense if a tree is poorly situated.

Drainage is yet another issue to consider. Young trees do best when planted in good-quality, well-drained loamy soil. Heavy clays in poorly-drained sites present particular problems, since many tree species, including firs, beeches, yellowwoods, oaks and yews will not be able to handle �wet feet�. Avoid areas where stagnant water pools around roots, since this can lead to �root rot� caused by lack of oxygen. You can do a general test for soil drainage by digging a hole in the planting area and filling it with water. After a couple of hours, the water should have drained away. If not, you may have problems with drainage. In areas where drainage is a particular problem, planting in raised beds of 12 to 18 inches of well-drained quality topsoil may be a solution.

Soil quality in new subdivisions often presents tree-planting problems. The PH level of the soil, and therefore its fertility, is often affected by construction materials and the resulting rubble. Chemical and petroleum spills, which often occur during building construction, pose additional concerns. In cases where soil contamination is severe, the only solution may be to scrape away the contaminated soil and replace it with good quality topsoil.

Personal taste is another key consideration. Think of how different kinds of new trees can enhance the attractiveness of your property. Make a list of the kinds of trees you admire, and think about how they would look in your yard or garden. Think about how the tree you selected would fill in the property over time. Make a few sketches, or if you don�t trust your own artistic talent, consult available landscape design software, or a landscape designer.

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Tom Higgins is a researcher and writer working for, where you can get all the nursery supplies at the best prices. Visit us for all your nursery needs.

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