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Trees, whether they are fruiting, blossoming, tall, shady, exotic, or native, can make a visual, climatic, and ecological impact in your yard. But how do you choose the correct tree to fit your yard and your personal taste?


Our experts have provided all the questions you need to ask before selecting a tree, and before planting it in your yard.

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There are many neighbourhood factors to consider before planting a tree in your yard.

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Know your Tree. Know your Space.

If you have a specific tree in mind for your yard, research it well; understand your hardiness zone as well as the tree’s growing needs, how much canopy (the branches), root spread and height the tree reaches as it matures.  If your space does not suit your chosen tree’s needs, then select another variety that would. If you have a specific spot in your yard in mind for planting; research which tree will match that area best. There are many important factors to consider in the yard space you choose. Sun exposure, soil, moisture, space requirements, proximity to buildings, underground utilities, sidewalks, overhead wires, shared property line (as well as city boulevards, neighbouring fencing, or structures) etc. Check your local bylaws for regulations as many tree species need 7 metres or more of buffer space around them.


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Backyard Climate Impact

Besides the ecological advantages, a tree can change the climate in your yard drastically; it can provide shade in the summer and protection in the winter.  Planting a tree up wind from your home can provide a break from the prevailing wind and save on heating costs in the winter. In the summer, a well-placed tree can also shield out the sun and shade your home to save on cooling costs. Depending on your cooling or heating needs, the placement of the tree will be important.


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Roots + Soil

Most trees grow best in well drained soil though some, like willows, can thrive in wet conditions. In general, the healthiest roots and fastest growth occurs in well-draining soil conditions. Test your soil for drainage by creating drainage holes in all your tree planting site options to test how well the area drains. Dig an 18-inch-deep hole and fill it with water. Ideally, the water will drain out of the hole within two hours, though up to one day is suitable. If it takes longer than one day to drain, the site is not appropriate for planting unless you’re willing to add heavy amounts of soil amendments into the area to loosen the soil structure.


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An Eye on Design

The placement of your tree is also about your garden design and choosing a pleasing spot in your landscape. Think about how and where you would like to enjoy its blossoms, foliage, and seasonal growth.
Where will the tree create a striking compliment to your existing garden & landscape and how will it shade or alter the growth of your other plantings?  Will you be planting multiple trees? Position them so they do not crowd each other or compete visually.  Consider the height and the canopy of each tree- and how varying shape and height will look – would a dwarf, standard or columnal variety create a better composition or fit the space best?

Asking these questions before you select & plant will save you from disappointment and regret in future years. For more advice on how to correctly plant a tree, please visit this post or stop by our Garden Centre to speak to our expert Horticulturalists.

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