Trees are a critical element of any landscape; however, we often take them for granted. Like many other useful things in our lives, such as cars, we don’t think too much about them until we need to perform maintenance or repairs on them, or if we find ourselves without one. Likewise, for many of us, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about our trees until they require some sort of attention, such as raking up leaves, or when we need to find an arborist for tree pruning or tree removal. But certainly, we notice their absence. Trees can boost the value of your property and improve curb appeal, but only if you select the right types of trees for your landscape.
The first step to selecting the right type of trees for your landscape is to think about why you want trees. Do you want the trees to provide shade? Do you want the trees to provide privacy? Are they going to beautify your landscape by providing a focal point or a burst of color? Determining which of these purposes your trees will serve is the root of the tree selection process.
Just like other types of landscape plants and types of grass, different types of trees thrive in different types of climates. A Massachusetts homeowner may see a picture of a magnolia tree in a catalog and decide it’s the perfect type of tree for his or her landscape. Unfortunately, this tree is not hardy enough to withstand those beautiful snowy winters in New England. Hibiscus trees, however, will thrive — but only certain species. The best place to start is with a hardiness map. Simply find your location and follow the color legend to identify your hardiness zone.
Some properties may offer several bare acres, while space may be very tight in more urban areas where neighborhoods are thickly settled and lot sizes are smaller. For this reason, it is an important component of deciding the best type of trees for your property, since some types of trees can get very large, while others will remain more compact.
Location, location, location. Of course, we’ve all heard how important this is as it relates to the value of your property, yet it also is an important consideration when selecting the right type of trees and where to plant them on your property. Different locations on the same landscape have varying levels of sun and wind exposure. Be sure to take into account whether the tree will be located on a south-facing area of your house, where it likely will get far more sun each day than if it were planted on the north facing side of your home. Likewise, different areas can be far windier than others, and this is dependent on several factors, including the slope of your land as well as the surrounding environment — thick forest or ledge versus an open field, for example. Certified arborists are great resources in this case to help determine which trees will best thrive in various locations.
Consider the properties of different types of trees and their properties throughout the seasons when it comes to selecting them and placing them in your landscape. Some types of trees, such as dogwood, might provide a gorgeous explosion of brightly colored blooms, only to shed large petals shortly thereafter. It might be best not to plant one near a swimming pool, for example. Or the oak tree, with its large leaves, might be selected to provide cooling shade over the hot blacktop of the driveway, until it pelts your car with acorns in the fall.
Another consideration is the type of soil on your landscape. Different types of trees are more or less likely to thrive depending on soil properties such as drainage and pH levels. A certified arborist can provide the best insight regarding your landscape’s soil properties.
Some very beautiful trees grow very slowly, while others tend to grow far more quickly. If you’re eager to achieve some privacy from those new neighbors, you’ll want to select a type of tree that grows quickly. If you’ve just built the home of your dreams and plan to spend your life enjoying your landscape, a slow-growing variety might be for you.
Once you’ve followed these tips, you’re ready to consult a certified arborist. Having these factors clear before consulting an arborist will make for a smooth and efficient process for finding and planting the right types of trees for your landscape. While it may be tempting for do-it-yourselfers, planting trees can represent a significant financial investment, and certainly are long-term commitments. It’s always best to consult an arborist, who can help to test your soil, provide advice regarding landscape layout and tree placement, and identify the very best types of trees which match your needs and preferences.
Certified arborists are the tree experts; they have the most experience sourcing the highest quality trees and expertly planting them to ensure that they grow strong and healthy for years of enjoyment to come.
Had that poor homeowner in Massachusetts consulted a certified arborist, he would not have watched his investment wither in the cold.
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