Your yard looks fantastic and has a bed of lush grass, flowers, and shrubs. But something is lacking. A tree! It is what you require. A giant maple or oak that one day might accommodate a tree home or a tire swing, a fruit tree that will serve as the secret ingredient in your fabled pie, or a native floral plant to make your landscape sparkle. You might only require a windbreak or a leafy tree to obstruct your neighbors’ view and offer some shade.
Regardless of the requirement, trees can significantly improve your landscape. But whether you want to create a mini-forest or just one trademark tree, it takes much more than buying a tree from the neighborhood garden center. Here is a detailed explanation of the tree choosing, planting, and maintenance procedures, along with what to anticipate at each stage.
Before planting, think about why you need the tree?
Choosing the purpose of the tree is the first stage in the planting process. Is it decorative? to get fruit? Shade? Although they can enhance the environment, ornaments can also be expensive and labor-intensive. It may take years for fruit plants to begin yielding components good enough for pies. It takes years for shade trees to begin to shade.
Know the Climate in Your Area
Realizing the restrictions of your location is the second step. The types of trees that can flourish in your yard will depend on your local climate, the quality of your soil, and the amount of sunlight.
The national reference is the Plant Hardiness Zone Map published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Growers and gardeners around the nation use it to choose which plants will do well in various conditions. According to USDA, the growing zones are listed from 1a and 1b to 13a and 13b based on the typical minimum winter temperature.
For instance, northern Minnesota, which experiences low winter temperatures between -40 and -45 degrees Fahrenheit, is rated as a 2b. South Florida appears on the map as 10b: An average winter low is no worse than a comfortable 35 to 40 degrees.
When to plant a tree?
Most tree service experts agree that digging a large hole for your new tree is best done in the fall.
For most of the US, the fall planting season implies damp, chilly weather. The wetness means you won’t have to work as hard to draw out the hose to prevent the roots of your new green companion from drying out. As it becomes established, you want the seeds to grow rather than foliage, which is encouraged by the cooler temperatures.
The next best time to plant trees is in spring or late winter. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can plant in the country’s hottest regions almost all year round. There are exceptions to the main guidelines, as stated in the Purdue University Extension “Tree Installation” guide. The optimal time to plant some trees, including redbud and oak, is spring.
Choose a Tree
Once you know that, you must choose a tree species that thrive in your zone. The Arbor Day Foundation offers a comprehensive tree guide detailing which trees thrive. Enter a tree species to find out more about it, including its growth rate, ideal soil and solar conditions, and the hardiness zones that are optimal for it. Your home and landscaping can also restrict trees that can grow in your yard. The tree’s height or growth patterns may be bound by power lines, sidewalks, driveways, or other constructions.
Checklist for Picking Trees
According to the University of Massachusetts Extension, make sure to consider these factors when choosing:
- Zone of hardiness
- Soil kind
- Soil pH
- Compacted soil
- Quantity of light
- Accessible area
Select a tree species that is a suitable fit for your unique conditions using the information you have at your disposal. It won’t always be a tree found locally. Due to the altered ecosystems in urban or suburban regions, “introduced” or “exotic” trees may be a better fit, according to the UMass Extension. Other factors exist in addition to location and surroundings. Think about trees that don’t have any significant pest issues. Think about noninvasive species that can withstand drought and have longer growing seasons.