Twig Tips by Jodie

Posted on September 21, 2018 by jo

Barking Up the Right Tree

Barking up the right tree.....guess what this Twig Tips is about?  You got it....tree selection.  Putting the right tree in the right place is SO important, so if you are planning to plant any new ones this fall, keep reading. Many factors come into play when deciding what tree to put where but here are a few of the most important ones.

1) Desired use - Why exactly are you planting a new tree?  You need shade?  How soon?  Want some color?  How about fruit to attract wildlife?  Screening an undesirable view or need privacy?  When you know what you want that tree to do, it narrows down options pretty fast.

2) Size matters  -  Yes, it does.  VERY important.  You need to take a look around and decide how big that tree can get and not be a future problem.  You may not care, but the next person (Ok, so that person could be one of your great-grandchildren) will not be happy at all when he has to hire someone to come take one down that shouldn't have been planted there in the first place. 

3) Soil type & conditions - Trees have preferences just like people.  Some grow best in clay soil, some better in sandier soils. This usually goes hand-in-hand with drainage/soil moisture.  Clay holds more moisture thus trees that like that (Red maples, the black and sweet "Gums", Swamp White Oak, River Birch and Bald Cypress) will thrive.   Sugar Maples, Oaks, Crabapples, Redbuds, and most evergreen trees prefer well-drained "lighter" soils.  

4) Exposure Some trees do well in what we call an "understory" situation, where they are somewhat shaded, growing under other trees.  These include Dogwoods, Redbuds, Amalanchiers, Tree Hydrangeas, and Hemlock.  Others have to have full sun to thrive and bloom well, like Crabapples and Hawthorns.  We also consider wind exposure in this catagory.  There are a few trees that we use in this part of Indiana that need a little protection from cold winter winds.  The lovely Japanese Maple is one that we have to consider exposure when planting.  Micro-climates can be created using buildings, fences, walls, and groups of trees to block wind.

So, taking all of the above into consideration, sometimes you only have 1 or 2 trees that will work in your specific situation.  Best to spend a little time and ask yourself the above questions to help you bark up the RIGHT tree instead of the WRONG one.  Why waste money and time?  Both are valuable.   I'll help you if you want me to, it's my job.  And my passion.  I LOVE TREES, can ya tell?

Off to pick out a new tree to plant this fall (and it WILL be in the right place) -  Jodie



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