Selecting Trees and Ongoing Management
Planting a tree is more than digging a hole and setting a tree. It requires proper selection and planning. A tree that is planted in the correct location, can be one of the most valuable assets in your garden. If properly cared for, the tree will provide many benefits that could be shared from one generation to the next. When selecting trees, it’s important to know what you are trying to achieve.
The first thing to do is to assess your site.
- What type of soil do you have?
- Do you have enough space to plant a tree in the location you are considering?
- Does this location have good drainage?
- How far away from the foundation am I am going to plant this tree?
- How much sunlight does this location receive?
- Are there any overhead utility lines that may limit your tree selection?
- Are there any site restrictions?
- If planting in the back garden, how wide are my gates? Can I remove my fence to allow for a larger tree?
Once you have assessed your site, consider what you are trying to achieve.
- Fall color
- Wind break
When planting a tree in a specific location, ask a tree specialist about the size of the tree at maturity. If planting multiple trees, consider spacing the trees 25 to 30 feet apart. If you are planting a large stature tree, try to plant about 25-feet away from your foundation or more.
Now that you have assessed your site and know what you are trying to achieve, its time to take some photos of the planting location. Bring these photos into a nursery and discuss your objectives with a tree specialist.
While meeting with a tree specialist, ask them to show you trees that are best suited for your site that also achieve your goal. We advise our clients to ask us about the species and watering requirements. It is good to know if the tree you are considering is in a dry climate, moist environment, or moderate water-loving species? You may also ask if this tree will grow in my soils? Some trees prefer well-drained soils, so planting a dry climate species in a location that stays wet, might not be the best idea. If you have a soil with a high pH, consider a tree that will grow in an alkaline soil.
At the Nursery
While at the nursery, assess the tree before you make a decision. Look at the base of the tree to inspect the root collar. This is sometimes referred to as the root flare. It should resemble the base of a wine glass that tapers outward.
If you are looking for an upright tree, evaluate the tree for good branch structure. A tree with a central leading branch is a good indicator it will grow upright. Then assess the trunk to make sure there are no major scars or damages that jeopardize the health of the tree.
If you are looking to plant a tree for aesthetics, consider the orientation of the tree. Make sure the tree will fit the space. Trees like Live Oaks and Chinese Pistache are naturally oriented to grow wide. Then there are trees like Red Oaks, Cedar Elms and Hybrid Maples that grow upright and provide height in your garden. Remember to look for overhead utility lines. If you have power lines that are located above the planting location, consider planting a small or medium-sized tree.
Sometimes we plant trees for shading a home to reduce energy bills. If this is the case, consider planting the tree on the west side of the home. You may consider a deciduous tree (drops its leaves in the winter) to reduce the amount of energy used to heat your home.
Last but not least ask the tree specialist for a watering and care guide. Thoroughly review the guide and discuss any areas of concern with the specialist. If you are confused about ongoing care for your tree, consider hiring a certified arborist for tree maintenance.
At Fannin Tree Farm we have a large inventory of trees that grow well in the Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Come by and see our selection and meet with one of our tree specialists. We have a great team of knowledgeable experts that are ready to help you find trees that will last for generations. Give us a call at 972-747-9233 and ask to talk to a tree specialist.