Before adding a tree to your outdoor living space, there are several things that you should consider. Following are five things that you need to know before you go to your local nursery to select a new tree.
Selecting the Right Tree
Choosing the right tree is the most important part of developing an attractive outdoor living space. Although most people are strongly influenced by matters of personal preference, keep in mind that the lovely blossoms of certain types of trees turn into messy fruit. Mulberry trees are excellent examples of this because their fruit actually stains surfaces where it falls, such as sidewalks and vehicles. Always made sure to learn the pitfalls of specific tree varieties and make sure they are something you can live with before making a final commitment. Other considerations concerning tree selection include:
- The mature size of the tree. You'll want your tree to be around for a long time, so choose one that won't eventually outgrow its space.
- The tree's suitability for your local climate and soil conditions. Choose a tree that thrives in your area instead of trying to baby along one that has other requirements. Going native is always the best choice.
- The amount of fire danger the tree potentially poses. If you live in an area where summer wildfires are a potential safety issue, avoid planting coniferous evergreens too close to the home -- they contain high amounts of flammable resin. Deciduous hardwoods are far better choices.
Choosing the Right Site
Once you've chosen the right tree, the next step is to select the right site. A sun loving fruit tree, for instance, will languish and fade if planted in an area that gets less than six hours of sun on a daily basis during the spring and summer months. By the same token, shade-loving trees will shrivel and wilt if planted where the sun beats down on a constant basis. Avoid low-lying sites in your yard that tend to be more soggy than others unless you've chosen a willow or other type of tree that thrives in wet conditions. Always site your tree in an area where it has plenty of room to grow.
No matter what type of tree you choose, it will benefit from proper mulching. Mulch provides a variety of benefits. It keeps tree roots cool in summer heat and insulates them against the potential ravages of winter cold. It also keeps weed seeds from sprouting and, if it's organic, it supplies the soil with nutrients.
Water and Fertilizer
The amount of watering your tree will need will depend on its type as well as on your local climate conditions. Mature trees don't need much summer watering except during periods of drought, particularly if they are native to the area in which they are planted. Be sure to research the cultural needs of the type of tree you have selected and follow them to the letter to get the tree off to a best possible start. Fertilizing needs vary widely among tree species, so choose a fertilizer that is formulated for the type of tree you have chosen.
Pest and Disease Identification
Although the average homeowner usually doesn't have the necessary expertise to diagnose tree diseases or identify specific pests, they can usually tell by sight if there is something harming their tree. Here's what to look for:
- Crown dieback. Stand at least 50 feet from your tree and look at the top -- if you notice wilt or dieback, that's a sign that the tree is in distress.
- Mishappen leaves. Many pathogenic plant diseases cause leaves to become stunted or to take on strange shapes.
- Brown or black spots on the leaves. This is a common sign that your tree is suffering from a fungal disorder.
Contact a local tree service at your convenience for more information on helping the trees in your yard thrive.