We've already discussed that you need to analyze your tree planting site, or consult with a professional tree service. Now it is time to match that site with an appropriate species. The following description of tree types should help narrow your selection to the trees that best suit your reason for planting. Again, I suggest you consult with a professional tree service if you are not comfortable tackling all this.
Are you looking for a tree that has fall color? Or spring flower? Do you need to screen out the neighbor's yard? There are many, many tree species to choose from. These species are usually grouped into the following categories:
• Shade trees are deciduous, meaning their leaves turn color and drop off in the fall.
- They are best planted at least 25 feet away from houses, buildings, or other obstacles.
- Shade trees can range from under 35 feet to 50 or even over 100 feet tall at maturity.
- Avoid planting shade trees under utility lines or too close to other trees unless you plant a small species.
• Ornamental trees are usually chosen for a particular characteristic, such as spring flowers, fall color, an attractive bark, or crown form.
- These trees range anywhere from 25 to 50 feet tall at maturity.
- Small ornamental trees with a mature height of less than 25 feet work well under utility lines or in confined spaces.
• Conifer trees ("evergreens") have needles or needle-like leaves that usually stay green all year.
- Conifers are the best choice for windbreaks and privacy screens.
• Native trees are those that grow naturally in your area.
- Depending on where you live, native trees should fit well in the home landscape, especially along streams or open areas, but might not be suitable for all sites and situations in urban areas.
- If you live in a city with harsh growing conditions and poor soils, a native species probably isn't your best choice and you should consider an ornamental or shade tree that is a tough urban tree.
- Avoid exotic species that may prove to be invasive later.