Picking a tree
What do I need to know before picking a tree?
It is really important to have an understanding of the area in which you are going to plant the tree. More important than anything is knowing how large the tree is going to be able to grow and what you expect the tree to do. If you want the tree to provide shade, then there are certain factors determining whether the tree will work for you or not. If you are looking for a spring flower, again, new factors decide what you are going to pick. Factors you need to know are;
- How large can the tree grow?
- Do you want flowers?
- Do you want fruit?
- How close to the house are you planting the tree?
- What colour do you want the leaves?
How can you buy trees?
Trees are generally available in three formats, bare root, potted and ball and burlap. Each of the three have pros and cons. Trees that are bare root are cheaper and very young. They give the large scale gardener a way to buy large amounts of the same cultivar in a young form for very little investment. The biggest problems with purchasing bare root trees are that they are rarely available and the survival rate is limited as well. If they are not planted quickly and well cared for they are likely to die.
Potted trees are very popular with homeowners. They are always smaller and younger, and take some time to grow in as well. These trees are often the best choice for home owners and do it yourself clients because the really allow for a quick cost effective tree, that is easy to transport and plant. In addition to this they have a very good survival rate because their root system is left intact and does not suffer any type of trauma. If they are well cared for they usually grow very quickly.
Ball and burlap trees are larger types of shade trees. They are dug out of the fields at the nurseries and put into a metal cage. These trees are usually what people want as far as an impact of planting a new tree. The downside to these trees is that they are very large and heavy. Many home owners do not have the ability to transport these trees home and in many cases are unable to plant them as well due to their weight. These trees will also be a little slower to get started because they have been dug out of the field and many of the roots have suffered some trauma. There will be a little bit of transplant shock but with the proper planting and care these trees usually have an excellent survival rate as well.
How big should I dig the hole for my new trees?
For potted trees the hole should be about twice the size of the pot around, and at least half as much deeper than the height of the pot. In the case of a ball and burlap tree, the hole should be about ¾ bigger than the root ball itself. What this means is that for a potted tree in a 12” pot, the hole should be 24” around. For a ball and burlap tree in a 24” root ball, you should have a hole around 40” around, tapered in towards the hole.
How long will it take for my tree to grow to maturity?
This depends completely on the type of tree you buy and what age you buy it at. Keep in mind, maples, oaks and large shade trees take a long time to become mature, 30 or 40 years. If you want a mature tree, buy a property with a mature tree on it.
Smaller trees will mature quicker and will give you better shade quicker. However, these trees often do not live as long as the larger shade trees.
What are the most popular trees for shading a backyard?
Our top 10 shade trees for mid to large areas would be;
1. Crimson King Maple 6. Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
2. Ivory Silk Lilac 7. Red Oak
3. Red Maple 8. Harlequin Maple
4.Sunburst Honey Locust 9. Autumn Purple Ash
5. Shubert Chokecherry 10. Emerald Queen Maple
What are the most popular trees for adding ornamental interests?
Ornamental trees are usually small and work well in garden beds or as specimen accent pieces. Our top 10 small to mid size ornamental trees are;
1. Peegee Hydrangea Tree 6. Red jewel Crabapple
2. Ivory Silk Lilac 7. Weeping Caragana
3. Profusion Crabapple 8. Dwarf Korean Lilac
4. French Hybrid Lilac 9. Flowering Almond
5. Weeping Mulberry 10. Dappled Willow
I have a narrow space to put a tree, what will fit in a space only 10’ diameter?
Columnar trees are becoming extremely popular for the small yard. Today many people are buying houses with smaller and smaller lots, or with less area available for trees themselves. This has made the demand for columnar trees huge. In keeping with this demand, there has also been a wider availability of these types of trees. Our top 10 columnar trees are;
1.Pyramidal English Oak 6.Crimson Frost Birch
2.Siberian Crabapple 7.Chanticleer Pear
3.Crimson Sentry Maple 8.Pyramidal Hornbeam
4.Pyramidal Russian Mountain Ash 9.Columnar Sugar Maple
5.Columnar Norway Maple 10. Green Pillar Oak
What trees have interesting foliage or fall colour?
Red maple Serviceberry Autumn Brilliance
Red Oak Burning Bush
Sugar Maple Autumn Purple Ash