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Seasonal Tips - Getting Started with Trees

by Nel Newman


Homeowners make a lasting investment in their landscapes when they plant trees, whether it’s a grove of flowering crabapples by the driveway or a stately elm out front. Trees take years to mature, but so do children; both are well worth the effort, but trees require much less maintenance.

Get started with trees by observing them in your neighborhood, at botanic gardens, public parks, and nearby forests. You, and likely your children’s children, will live with these trees for years, so take your time. View them from a distance, stand under them if you can, and fall in love with some. Then do some research: find out their names, check their references for care needs, and locate a source for your favorites.

Mature height and the time it takes to get there often influences tree selection. Tailor your choices for your needs and those of your landscape. The sun’s direction as it passes over your property tells you where to locate shade trees. Let deciduous trees shelter the west side in summer, and welcome the light that reaches you in winter. Use evergreen trees for permanent screens against wind, noise, and unsightly views.

Consider your design when selecting trees. Do you need a single specimen to accent your house or balance its size? Or do you want to create a woody view at the rear of the garden? When planting single trees, choose the largest one you can handle, physically and financially. A grove of smaller trees can be planted together and surrounded by a mulch blanket for easier mowing.

When planting trees, dig the native soil out and amend it with one third by volume organic matter, plus sand if drainage is a concern. Drop a tree fertilizer tablet into the planting hole. Plant anytime if your selection is container grown, but get to it early for maximum growth the first year. Water new trees in with root stimulator fertilizer and do not allow the new planting to dry out.



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