Do you want to plant a tree in your yard, but don’t know if the one you are looking at the garden centre is the best choice for you? You are not alone.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
Some things to consider when choosing a tree for your property are as follows.
Site or area to be planted: Consider the ultimate size of the tree. Will the Quercus rubra (Red Oak) that you are ogling over, which reaches 50’ wide and tall, be the best tree to plant beside your deck? What about overhead lines or underground septic systems or drains?
Sunlight: Will the Japanese Maple, that you have saved for, work in your full sun front yard?
Type of soil: Do you have sand or dreaded clay? Will your chosen tree tolerate the soil that you have in your yard?
Drainage: Do you have adequate drainage? Now is the time to amend the drainage if you want to successfully grow a tree that does not like wet feet. Ensuring adequate drainage in your property is never a waste. Trust me, you won’t regret this.
Size of Tree: Small under 15’, Medium 15’-30, Large 30-75’+
Debris: Every tree creates debris from falling leaves, nuts, seeds, keys, spent flowers, or shedding needles. How much can you handle?
Aesthetics: Consider the growing habit and aesthetic value of your tree. Is it columnar, weeping, pyramidal, vase shaped, multi-stemmed? Does it flower, have excellent fall foliage or winter interest? Is it evergreen or deciduous?
Emily’s Top 5 Trees
I love trees! I wish I had more room to plant and the energy to water newly planted trees! My top 5 favourites are as follows:
Cornus kousa ‘Venus’ - a beautiful variety of a flowering dogwood. It grows well in a warm zone 5 to 6. What zone are you? Find out here: https://geoscan.nrcan.gc.ca/images/geoscan/gid294868.jpg
Beautiful white flowering bracts and red barbell type fruit. Beautiful fall colour and great branch structure in the winter. Can be a single stemmed or multi-stemmed trunk.
Amelanchier X grandiflora – any species of Amelanchier or Service Berry is on the top of my list. I love the delicate white flowers in the spring together with the red to bluish fruit that the birds and my neighbours fight over! And the fall colour really adds to any landscape. This tree definitely checks off a lot of boxes. It is very hardy to a zone 3 and easy to prune. It grows in many soil conditions that are well drained.
Betulus nigra ‘Cully’ - Heritage River Birch is a disease and pest-free birch that is a beautiful tree as a specimen or in a grouping. It’s a larger tree that will eventually get up to 18m. It is a great tree to grow in a moist setting or low-lying area. It has exfoliating bark which is a very classic birch characteristic.
Carpinus betulous ‘Fastigiata’ - This is an upright columnar tree, very similar in growth to the upright oak or Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’ but much nicer in my opinion. It is a quick growing tree that is relatively easy to prune. It holds its leaves somewhat into the winter and makes a great privacy tree and alternative to a cedar. The common name is Hornbeam.
Picea pungens ‘Baby Blue’ - With the Baby Blue Colorado blue spruce tree, you don’t need to have a huge lot in order to enjoy the spectacular year-round colour this evergreen provides. It is very low maintenance. Once it is established, it is both drought and full-sun tolerant and withstands deer.
There are an overwhelming variety of trees from which to choose… and you should choose… at least one for your property. Whether you use my top five list, or make your own top five, plant one this year!
P.S. the best times of the year to plant? When you have the time to pick, plant and maintain the tree. Early spring is best for deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in the fall) while fall is the best time to plant evergreens.