5 Steps of Tree Selection

One: Determine The Purpose Of The Tree

  • Decide how the tree will be used – for shade or screening
  • Determine if color or winter interest is desired in the landscape
  • Trees can be used to reduce wind or noise or to control erosion
  • Attracting wildlife may be desirable and trees can help

Two: Consider The Site

  • Determine if there are sidewalks or driveways near the planting location
  • Check if there are overhead lines or underground utilities nearby
  • Determine the type of soil in the planting location
  • Decide if the tree will be planted near the house and which side of the house you will place the tree

Three: Consider Growth Characteristics Of The Tree

  • The width of the canopy at maturity should be considered and will determine how much space the tree requires at maturity
  • Select a tree that will thrive in the space available
  • Determine whether the branches hang down or grow upright
  • Anticipate if there will be problems with flowers, fruit, or twig litter

Four: Buy Plants From A Reputable Nursery

  • Select a nursery that is certified and is a member of the American Nursery Association
  • Ask how long they have been in business and if they warranty their trees

Five: Examine The Tree

  • Check that the main leader is straight and the branches are distributed evenly
  • The trunk should be free of bark damage, insects, and disease
  • Check that the tree has been properly pruned
  • The root system should be adequate for the size of the tree (Rule of thumb: 1 foot of root ball for 1 inch caliper of trunk)
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