Adding a shade tree to your landscape provides a multitude of benefits. Properly placed, a shade tree can channel summer breezes, significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, screen unwanted views, and attract wildlife. They will also add to the value of your property as they grow. However, several factors must be considered before planting to avoid problems down the road.
The first consideration is location. When considering where to place your tree, it is best to visualize the tree in that spot, fully grown. Is the tree going to interfere with overhead power lines? Will it crowd your home and damage the eaves with branches or the foundation with its root system? Will the root system interfere with septic or sewer lines? You also want to take care to situate the tree so it does not overwhelm other trees in the yard. A medium to large shade tree should be planted 20-30 feet away from other trees. Careful placement of the young tree will ensure it doesn’t outgrow its location.
Now that you’ve selected the tree’s location, you need to determine what type of tree to plant. You can narrow down your choices based on the size of the space you’re trying to fill. Further considerations such as soil and weather conditions should be taken into account. Do some online research or consult your local nursery to determine which species of trees are best suited to your environment. A tree will grow and establish itself faster in an environment that meets its needs. Buy your tree from a reputable supplier that offers money back guarantees.
Trees are purchased in one of three ways: container grown, bare root, or balled and burlapped (B&B). Plant bare root trees in the winter or early spring. Container grown and B&B trees can be planted in late fall, winter, or early spring. Make sure the roots are kept moist until ready to plant. Plant the tree at the proper depth, using the original soil line on the trunk as an indicator. Mix the backfill dirt with 25% organic materials such as compost or peat moss and fill the hole to the soil line, compacting by hand (not too firmly). Construct a moat around the outside perimeter of the hole to help hold the water in place. Water the tree in after planting, and add 2-3″ of mulch.
That’s it! The hard part is over. Simply water and fertilize the tree in accordance with the planting instructions. Now, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Shade trees add beauty and value to your property. Proper planning and planting will ensure a lifetime of benefits.