A home without a tree seems naked. All too often new home sites are totally cleared before building, leaving the homes without shade or shelter from the winds and destroying the natural habitat. Sometimes the land has been farmed for years and there is no native vegetation left to remove. The natural landscape is gone.
Often homeowners want to fix the problem, and fix it quick. Planting trees is a good thing to do to begin to restore and remediate the landscape. Taking time to choose the right tree for the right place will insure that all your time, money and energy will yield the best possible outcomes.
Trees add value to your home, help cut energy costs, make your home more beautiful and help to restore the natural environment. Finding the “right tree” isn’t a value judgment. In order to go green in choosing trees there are environmental and arbor culture factors to consider.
Trees, like all living things require the right amount of light, proper nutrients, air and water. When examining your site, consider the climate, hardiness zone, type of soil, which way the sun is in relation to the tree, air pollution or lack of it and how much water is available.
Picking trees that are native to your area is a good place to start. These trees are already adapted to local conditions and stand the best chance of surviving, and will require much less maintenance once they are established.
To make sure you have the right tree in the right place you also have to consider what the tree will be used for, it’s size and proposed location and it’s shape.
In general plant tall trees surrounding your home, such as oak, maple hemlock or pine to provide breaks for cold winter winds and cooling shade in the hot summers. Energy costs can be greatly reduced with proper location.
Medium trees, 40 feet or less in mature height, give the landscape dimension and additional visual interest. Species such as Sourwood and Thornless Honeylocust, can be ornamental as well as shade with their beautiful panicles. Many medium sized trees have interesting bark and beautiful fall color, too.
Smaller trees are suitable for planting under utility wires. Nothing is uglier than a beautiful tree with the middle cut out to accommodate power lines. Some very attractive ornamental small trees might include Redbud, Dogwood, Crape Myrtle and Serviceberry. When planting near utility lines, it’s best to choose a tree that has a maximum mature height of 25 feet and 20 foot spread.