So you want to buy the perfect tree for your property? Choosing the perfect tree can be a daunting task, but it’s one that can greatly enhance the look and feel of your home. With a little research and planning, you can install a beautiful and low-maintenance tree that will provide shade, attract wildlife, and increase your property value.
In this article, we’ll share 10 tips to buy the perfect tree for your home, including assessing your needs and goals, considering hardiness zones, and evaluating soil and sunlight needs. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a newbie, these tips will help you make an informed decision and create an outdoor space that you’ll love.
Determine Your Needs and Goals
To choose the perfect tree for your property, it’s important to determine your needs and goals. Consider what you want the tree to provide, whether it’s shade, privacy, aesthetic beauty, provides edible fruit or nuts, flowers for pollinators and offers habitat. Also, think about any specific requirements you may have, such as a narrow tree for a small urban space, or a fast growing tree to establish a shelter belt.
Hardiness Zone Suitability
It’s important to remember that not all trees are created equal when it comes to climate. Some trees may flourish in one region but struggle to survive in another. This is where considering hardiness zones comes into play. Hardiness zones are a way to gauge which trees are suitable for your region based on the average coldest temperature.
Before choosing a tree, it’s important to research your hardiness zone to ensure that the tree you select can thrive in your particular climate. For example, if you live in a zone with cold, harsh winters, you’ll want to choose a tree that can withstand those conditions.
Consider the Location, Size of Your Property and Utility Locations
Once you’ve determined which trees are best suited for your hardiness zone, it’s time to think about the location and size of your property. Consider the space you have available and any potential obstacles, such as power lines or structures, that may limit the height or spread of the tree.
Don’t forget about underground service & utilities lines. It is a good idea to have a line locate done by your local utility companies to confirm where they are before you plant a tree on top of it.
Select a Tree That Complements Your Landscape
Additionally, the overall aesthetic of your landscape is an important factor to consider when selecting the perfect tree. You want to choose a tree that complements the existing vegetation, or one that adds a pop of color or texture to the area. Consider the size, shape, and color of the tree, and how it will fit into your existing landscape.
Assess the Tree’s Growth Rate
To assess the growth rate of a tree, research the typical growth rate of the species you are interested in. You can find this information online or by consulting with a local arborist. Keep in mind that factors such as soil quality, climate, and pruning techniques can affect a tree’s growth rate, so consider these factors as well.
If you are looking for a tree that will grow quickly, look for species that are fast-growing such as the hackberry or the tulip poplar. However, keep in mind that fast-growing trees can also have weak wood and be more susceptible to damage from storms or pests.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a tree that will grow more slowly, consider species such as an evergreen species. These trees tend to have stronger wood and typically live longer than fast-growing trees.
You may not be concerned with how fast a tree grows if it is being used as decorative only but if you are developing a shelter belt from scratch this will be an important factor to consider.
One of my favourite websites both for tree purchases but also the extensive info they have on the growth habits of trees is treetime.ca.
Choose a Tree Shape
Assessing the shape of a tree is just as crucial to your landscaping goals as its growth rate. Different tree shapes can provide different functions and aesthetics to your yard. For example, a narrow, columnar tree such as a juniper can be an excellent option for a small yard or to create a privacy screen.
If you are looking for a centre piece tree or a shade-providing tree, varieties such as the maple or the oak with a broad, spreading shape may be more appropriate.
For a more natural, organic look, a tree with a natural, irregular shape such as a birch or a dogwood may be the perfect tree for you.
Perhaps you would like a private screen but don’t need something very tall, then a hedge would be a good option.
Check for Disease and Pest Resistance
Investing in a tree that is not disease-resistant can lead to a lot of frustration and expense in the future. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to conduct some research or consult with a local garden centre or nursery to ensure you are selecting a healthy and robust tree, as well as look for disease resistant varieties.
One way to avoid common issues is to choose a species that is native to your specific region. Native trees are often the perfect tree as they naturally resistant to diseases and pests in that particular environment. If you have a specific tree species in mind that is not native, make sure to research any potential issues and preventive measures to counteract them.
Additionally, inspect the tree’s overall health before making a purchase. Check for any evidence of damage or disease, such as holes, discoloured foliage, or an unusual amount of dead branches. When in doubt, it’s always best to seek professional advice before committing to a purchase.
By taking the time to ensure your tree is disease and pest resistant, you’re setting yourself up for success in the long run. This is especially true if you want the perfect tree that will not require a lot of maintenance or attention.
Evaluate the Tree’s Soil and Sunlight Needs
Different trees thrive in different soil types and levels of sunlight. Some trees prefer well-drained or moist soils, while others need more acidic or alkaline soil to thrive. Similarly, some trees do well in full sun, while others prefer partial shade.
Before making a purchase, research the soil and sunlight requirements of the tree you’re interested in and that it fits the requirements of where you would like to plant it.
Taking the time to evaluate your tree’s needs will set you up for long-term success and minimize the need for frequent maintenance or intervention. The perfect tree is not a fussy tree.
If you have never mapped the sun on your property then this is where you will start to gain a clear understanding of what you are working with. I have created a detailed blog post to assist you with just that by clicking here.
Think About Maintenance Requirements
While certain trees may look stunning, they may require high maintenance, including regular pruning, fertilizing, and watering. This can also include trees that drop a lot of seeds that you will need to clean up or weed out. Some trees profusely sucker, sending out shoots from its base, growing larger and taking over more area that perhaps you would like.
When selecting the perfect tree, consider the amount of time, effort, and resources you’re willing to put into maintaining it. Hint: It’s usually a lot less that you think you will want to. Some trees require more attention than others and may end up being more trouble than they’re worth.
Tap Root or Fibrous Root
Now that you have considered the maintenance requirements of your potential tree, it’s time to examine the root system. There are two types of root systems: taproot and fibrous. Taproots are a deep-rooted system that anchor a tree, more drought resistant and can access nutrients deeper in the soil, and provide stability during strong winds, while fibrous roots are shallow and spread out in search of nutrients and moisture. Fibrous roots can good for water logged soils such as clay as they are more shallow.
It’s important to consider the surrounding area when choosing between taproot and fibrous root systems. The fibrous root that spreads is not something you want to plant close to the foundation of your house. The perfect tree is not one that is going to puncture your water lines, generally avoid putting a fibrous rooting plant near them. However, if the area is susceptible to high winds, a tree with a taproot system may be more suitable.
Permaculture Principle Stacking Functions
It’s important to consider how the perfect tree can serve multiple functions within your landscape. This is where the permaculture principle of stacking functions comes into play. Essentially, it means that every element in your landscape should serve more than one purpose. When it comes to selecting a tree for your home, think about how it can serve beyond just providing shade or beauty.
For example, consider a fruit tree, consider an apple tree that also serves as a pollinator for other fruit trees in your yard, offers privacy, shade and gorgeous flowers in the spring.
Or, if you want a privacy screen, choose a tree that also attracts beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Additionally, think about how the tree can help improve the soil quality or reduce erosion on your property.
By stacking functions, you’ll create a more efficient and productive landscape that benefits both you and the environment. Creating more diversity and intentionally with your choice benefits you and your environment.
Selecting the perfect tree for your home is a significant decision that can make a big difference in enhancing your property’s appeal and value. By following the ten tips outlined in this article, you can make an informed decision based on your unique needs and goals.
Remember to consider factors such as location, size, type, shape, growth rate, soil and sunlight needs, and maintenance requirements. With a little research and planning, you can enjoy the benefits of a beautiful and healthy tree for years to come.
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”Ralph Waldo Emerson