If you look outside your window and see nothing but snow, thoughts of tree planting might be the furthest thing from your mind. I get it. See beyond the winter landscape though and start planning for spring. Now is the time to think about which trees you might want to plant!
There is so much to consider. You need to take in account your soil, sunlight, water availability, drainage, surrounding landscape, and of course your personal likes and dislikes. Don’t forget to think about the tree’s needs as well; its frequency of feeding, pruning, and your ability to provide those things. You shouldn’t pick a high-needs tree like a bonsai, if your travel schedule means that your postal worker sees more of your landscape than you do. Likewise, the tree of heaven might sound heavenly, but it is not native to Canada and considered an invasive species throughout much of North America. Research will save you plenty of headaches at the end of the day.
ReForest London has a great Resource List of trees at risk, to avoid, to use with caution and best choices. This might be your best place to start, but as already noted, more things need to be considered. Keep your list handy and ask yourself these questions;
Where would you like to put the tree?
- consider the proximity to roadways, buildings, hydro wires, buried utilities, etc.
- how high and wide does the tree grow?
- how much sunlight and water does the tree need
- what is your soil’s pH level?
- what is your climate like – wet, dry, hot, cold, etc.
* When a tree is planted too near other structures it can threaten them via its roots, branches and the whole tree itself. Plus a tree grown in a compromised setting is often weaker and prone to disease, insect infestation or failure to thrive
How high-needs is the species?
- does it have flowers, berries, fruit or leaves to clean up?
- does it produce suckers that require frequent pruning?
* Trees are typically lower maintenance than annual plants, perennial flowers or even shrubs, but still require pruning to remove dead wood and damaged branches, plus occasional fertilizing. Consult your local arborist to find out if your tree would benefit from fertilization.
Is it appropriate for my space?
- is it native to my location?
- is it susceptible to pests, disease?
- does it fit in with my existing landscape?
- do I like the look of it?
* A tree is only as good as its location. If its invasive, won’t survive the climate, is prone to disease or is just plain not to your liking, you won’t consider it a benefit to your yard. Neither will it be a appreciated if you are allergic to it, don’t like the smell of it, or find its look unappealing. Pick what you like!