Determining Which Trees Meet Your Needs
The right tree is one of the most essential and sustainable elements in a typical landscape. But before you hustle down to the nursery and get a whole bunch of trees, you need to do your homework.
First, compile a list of candidate trees. Read up on trees in a good gardening book, check out the mature trees in a local botanic garden, or visit http:// selectree.calpoly.edu for great information on choosing the right tree. Then ask yourself the following questions about your candidate trees to help bring matters into focus:
- What's it gonna do? As always, the sustainable question is "What's the purpose of your tree?" You may be looking for shade, wildlife habitat, flower or foliage color, wind protection, food, all those functions, or even more. Pick a tree that meets your needs.
- Where's it gonna go? Pick a location where shade will be desirable, and where the tree has room to grow. Check for compatibility with other plants in the area and with the style of your house.
- What's it gonna mess up? Check for adequate clearance from power lines, underground utilities, pavement, and foundations. Avoid placing trees with aggressive roots anywhere near any plumbing, pavement, or buildings. Don't plant a tree that drops a lot of leaves, flowers, and fruits over pavement, especially if it creates a hazard. Think about the effect of the tree on your view and on the views your neighbors enjoy; some communities outlaw trees that grow into a neighbor's view. Avoid trees that are poisonous, highly flammable, short-lived, brittle, unstable, invasive, weedy, or particularly susceptible to pests and diseases.
Criminey! It sounds like all trees cause problems, but that's not the case. Many trees are almost problem-free, and even ones with drawbacks will be fine in the right situation. But be realistic about problems and don't let love blind you to the realities (remember that you might live with this tree longer than you live with your spouse).
- What's it gonna look like? Ponder the many shapes of trees: broad crown, spreading, narrow crown, pyramidal, vase, and columnar, not to mention the distinctive shape of palm trees. Imagine how these shapes would fit in your yard. Think about foliage texture and color, flower color and season, branching habit, and even wind movement.
- What's it gonna need? Consider the water requirements of the tree as well as the soil, food, and weather conditions it needs, its requirements for pruning and other professional care, and its resistance to pests and diseases.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.
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