Saturday, September 22, 2012

Plant the right way to avoid going from healthy to hazardous

Tree planting; anyone can do it, right?  No so. Although tree planting sounds pretty easy, many people seek the help of an arborist or professional tree service, and there's good reason for it. Planting a tree is not just about digging a hole, putting the tree in the hole green side up.   Planting the wrong tree in the wrong place, or planting a tree improperly are both very quick ways to 
1. waste money
2. have a dead tree
3. create a future hazard tree that might end up falling on someone or something. 

In reality, the “simple act of planting a tree” may not be so simple. Choosing the right site, the right species, the right tree specimen, and the right planting method will ensure that any tree you plant will become an asset to the landscape, not a liability; healthy not hazardous.

There's a philosophy that is upheld by those in the tree service industry and that is  “Right Tree, Right Place”. Essentially this means that you first look at a potential planting site and then determine what tree would work best in that spot. It involves carefully examining the characteristics of a potential planting site, including soil quality and quantity, available growing space above ground in relation to other trees or to buildings, the amount of sun the site receives, and other similar considerations. Based on these site characteristics, you can look at the broad array of tree species available and decide which species are best suited to that spot and if you don't know, contact your local tree service; they'll be able to assist you.

Examining a Potential Planting Site

Start by thinking about what you want your yard to look like in 10 or 20 years. The key to analyzing a planting site is to envision it with a full-grown tree. Although the new tree you are considering planting probably will be only 5 or 10 feet tall, it may grow to 50 or 100 feet, depending on the species. Keep this in mind when selecting a planting site.

Here are some questions to consider about your planting site:

* Does the site provide enough room for the tree's crown and roots to grow? Are the prevailing winds and sun exposure conducive to its growth?

Consider other trees, buildings, or landscape features near the site. Again, keep in mind the mature height of the tree you're about to plant. What looks like enough room now may look very crowded after 10 years of growth. 
Tree roots: 
~need space too, and 
~don't like to be confined by sidewalks, driveways, or house foundations. 
~Some trees tolerate shade, 
~others prefer full sun. 
Some trees have shallow root systems, so you may need to stake the tree for the first year. 

* Are there utility wires or other obstructions nearby or overhead?

If there are overhead wires on your property, avoid planting large shade trees within 25 feet of them. Planting large maturing trees underneath power lines could cause power outages and increased maintenance costs. Eventually these trees will require severe pruning. If you must plant directly underneath wires, select a tree that will be less than 30 feet at maturity.

* What is the soil like? Is it sandy or comprised of heavy clay? Is it poorly drained or well drained?

The health and vigor of your tree will greatly depend on the quantity and quality of the soil in the planting site, so investigate the soil before you plant the tree. Soil near houses tends to be highly compacted, a less than ideal growing condition. Tree roots need loose or uncompacted soil because they must have oxygen for growth. If you have sandy or clay soil, peat or compost can increase the air space and improve drainage.

* What function will the tree serve? Will you choose a shade tree, an ornamental tree, a deciduous tree or a conifer?

The purpose of the tree is an important consideration. For example, if you're looking for a privacy screen, a maple is a poor choice because it doesn't hold its leaves year round. However, a cedar is ideal for this purpose. If the tree's primary purpose is shade, an oak, maple, or ash may be at the top of your list.

By carefully assessing your site, you will be able to make a more informed choice about the tree species best suited for that location.

There's so much to consider, but this is not all that is involved in planting the right way.  to really ensure your trees stays healthy and doesn't become hazardous, stay tuned. During the week, I will be posting more information on healthy planting.

At Trees "R" Us, Inc. we take pride in not only our professional tree care services, but also educating our customers. It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment. We hope you found this post informative and educational. 

Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs. Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services. Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at or at 847-913-9069.

Thanks for reading,

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