tree to site is a key part of the tree selection process.
What is the size
of the site on
which your new tree or trees will be situated? How big will
that spindly three-foot sapling be in 30 or 40 years? Is an
oak or a willow, either very large when fully grown, the
best tree for a small front lawn in a city? On a large
suburban lot, on the other hand, will a single small tree or
bush be lost in a vast expanse of lawn?
crucial factor to consider is proximity
to buildings, sidewalks, driveways, streets, utility lines,
overhead and buried, and septic systems. Trees
spread out both above and below ground and branch overhang
and root growth can cause considerable damage and incur
considerable expense if a tree is poorly situated. Consider
the planting location with respect to foundation, concrete
and asphalt structures, and drainage structures.
can play an important role in climate
control. Deciduous trees planted on the south,
west and east perimeters of a lot will provide shade during
the summer while allowing scarce sunlight through in the
winter when leaves have fallen. Evergreens, on the other
hand, planted on the north and west sides of a property, can
reduce winter heating costs by serving as windbreaks.
yet another issue to consider. Young trees do best when
planted in good-quality, well-drained loamy soil. Heavy
clays in poorly-drained sites present particular problems as
many species of trees including white firs, yellowwoods,
beeches, red oaks and yews will not tolerate ‘wet feet.’ In
all cases, stagnant water pooling around roots can lead to
‘root rot’ caused by lack of available oxygen.
can do a general test for soil drainage by digging a hole in
the planting area and filling it with water. If the water
hasn’t drained away in a couple of hours, drainage may be an
issue. In areas where drainage is a particular problem,
planting in raised beds of 12 to 18 inches of well-drained
quality topsoil may be a solution.
new subdivisions often presents tree-planting problems.
Construction materials, in addition to creating unsightly
and difficult-to-work rubble, can alter the soils fertility
by raising or lowering pH. Chemical and petroleum spills,
which often occur during building construction, pose
additional concerns. In cases where soil contamination is
severe, the only solution may be to scrape away the
contaminated soil and replace it with good quality topsoil
at a depth associated with your planting objectives.
another key consideration. Think of how different kinds of
new trees can enhance the attractiveness of your property.
Make a list of the kinds of trees you admire and think about
how they would look. Consider how your selection will fill
in to the planting area over time. Make a few sketches or,
if you don’t trust your own artistic talent, consult
available landscape design software, or a landscape