Tree Selection

Tree Selection

Posted by Aaron Barton on Jun 9th 2022

Tree Selection

Planting trees in the landscape not only looks good but is good! Adding trees to the landscape adds benefits beyond beauty. Trees create a focal point in the yard or as a part of a garden, create habitat for birds and wildlife, increase curb appeal and even your home’s value, and can reduce energy costs by mitigating heat sink by creating shade.

Planting a tree is an investment in the future. When you select the right tree for the right space and take care in planting you will ensure it has a long, healthy life in your landscape.

Decide Which Tree is Right for You

When looking for a tree, consider:

    • Mature size - height and width
    • Size constraints - overhead wires, neighboring homes, fencing
    • Site conditions - sun, moisture, hardiness
    • Purpose - flowers, fruit, structure, color, shade, winter interest

The most important thing to consider when deciding which tree to plant is mature size. Pay close attention to the listed mature height and width for the tree selected and assume that your tree will eventually reach this size. Planting a tree that is ill-fitted to your space will lead to frustration and future decline in the health of the tree, whether from crown competition, shading, excessive pruning to manage size, or girdling roots. Another important consideration is your tree’s surroundings. Be sure that whatever tree you decide to plant has room to grow without interfering with overhead power lines, fences, or your home. Also consider the vigor of the selected tree’s root system and account for nearby septic systems and other plumbing or piping that may be impacted by an extensive root system. Be sure that your planting abides by local guidelines set for tree size, placement, and setbacks to avoid issues down the road.  

Once you have determined your site dimensions, you must consider your site conditions. Most trees prefer evenly moist, well-drained soil in a full sun exposure; however, some understory trees or shoreline trees may have different sun or moisture requirements. Adequate light and moisture are the key to longevity. It is critical that the tree you select is hardy to your zone so that it will survive the winter. All trees offered at Tonkadale are hardy to zone 4 or lower.

Lasty, consider what you are looking for in your tree and what its purpose is in your landscape. Are you looking for a smaller tree to provide spring color? Bright fall color? Delicious fruit? Large shady coverage? Are you looking for a wide branching tree or a columnar habit? Whatever your site calls for, ensure that the tree you select will fulfill the role you are seeking. Consider factors such as growth habit, spring blooms, fruit and seed production, fall color, and winter interest when deciding which tree is right for you. Once you’ve found a tree that ticks all the boxes, it’s time to plant!