Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Right Tree, Right Place: Obvious and Not So Obvious Factors to Consider When Planting

The most common factor of Right Tree Right Place is height! Planting a large, tall canopy tree directly under power lines is just a shame. The tree has to be unnecessarily pruned and is not allowed to reach its full potential. There are a few other key factors to consider when thinking about what types of trees to plant in your yard.

Of course – you can always take the guesswork out of it and have a tree (or a few!) professionally planted in your yard for a small co-pay in our RiverSmart Homes residential planting program. Our arborists have a consultation in your yard and help pick the very best tree suited for your yard. All the trees mentioned qualify for one of our residential planting programs!

Not all soils are built the same, especially in cities. It’s important to look at just what exactly your tree is being planted in. Heavy clay content compacted fill dirt usually doesn’t work for any tree, but the Swamp White Oak can manage with those hard layers.

While people often consider sun when planting flowers or plants, trees also need varying degrees of sunshine. Trees like the delightfully showy Yellowwood like full sun while the distinct American Hornbeam is happier chilling in the shade. Light preferences play a large role in whether or not a tree establishes and grows into a mature tree with so many sought after benefits.

The power lines of the underground world, it’s important to consider pipes when planting a tree. Will they clash with the tree’s root system? Trees grow up and out, but they also grow down and out.

Something else odd to consider? The shape of a tree. A Southern Magnolia has a large canopy spread that would provides lots of shade, it also needs a lots of wiggle room. Loblolly Pines, however, are tall and skinny trees that can thrive in a narrow spit of property like a side yard or alleyway.

Berries, flower petals, and seed pods are sometimes the crowning beauties of trees. But who ends up cleaning up? You! Another factor when considering planting is whether a tree has leaves, berries or seeds that may fall. Catalpas earned the nickname “Cigar Tree” from their odd shaped seed pods. But those have to fall somewhere – you may not want them on your car, deck, sidewalk, or some other inconvenient place. Although perhaps a deciduous tree like the colorful Sweetgum will drop its leaves near your garden compost bin – making a welcome contribution to your yard.

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