title:Tree Selection Checklist

author:Elizabeth Passage
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:13

1. Size at maturity: Very tall or very wide trees are not suitable for the average, small home lot. While you may feel that a tree that does not reach mature height for 20 or 30 years is no problem, it is better to regard a tree as a permanent addition to the property.
2. Rate of growth: Fast growing trees may be a great temptation particularly when you need shade, but many of them grow with soft wood or shallow roots and are easily damaged in a storm. In addition to the loss of the tree, this might mean personal or property damage. This group includes the poplars, silver maple, willows and Chinese and Siberian elms.
3. Appearance: Do you want an evergreen, a deciduous tree, one that flowers or has berries? Do you have a preference in the type of leaf, or the color of the foliage at different times of the year? The variety of trees that now grow in the United States is so large, about 650 different kinds, that all tastes can be satisfied. Consider also the density of the shade given by the tree, particularly in relation to what you would like to grow under it. Dense shade will require a ground cover rather than grass. The shape of the tree is most important in its effect on the total landscaping. Wide, low trees are best for a rambling ranch house. Tall slender trees can make a tall house look lower. Tree shapes vary greatly. The Morton Bay fig tree, for example, grows with a wide head, while the pine oak grows wide at the base and narrows toward the top. like a pyramid
4. Root system: Shallow-rooted trees are much more likely to be knocked over in a storm than deep rooted trees. In addition, the root system of the tree largely determines what can be grown under it. and this includes quite a large area as the tree gets older. The Norway maple, for example, spreads a network of roots near the surface and prevents the growth of shrubs or flowers beneath it. If you use a tree with rambling roots it must be set far from walks and septic tank system.
5. Maintenance: Choose a tree that is as free as possible from pests. Spraying tall trees is difficult for the average homeowner. Nursery stock should be heeled in the ground by digging a trench, placing the roots in the bottom, and covering them with soil. If the roots are dry, they should be immersed in water for an hour or two before they are heeled in. The soil that has been firmed around the roots should be kept moist until it is frozen, or until the plants can be set in their permanent positions.
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