Setting up an arboretum or tree garden in your yard is a work of both science and art. There is beauty and meaning behind the selection of every colour, size, and type of tree in which you decide to invest. There is also the science of determining how trees complement each other so they can live harmoniously. Before planting several trees on your property, it is essential to plan ahead and choose which ones best fit the area.
What to do
1. Check your area. At what time does the sun face your yard? What kind of soil does it have? Like other living organisms, trees are governed by a set of requirements that ensure their survival: adequate sunlight, sufficient water supply, and soil quality. Every tree has different needs, and learning them will help you select the most appropriate trees to thrive in your area’s conditions.
2. Understand tree behaviour. Each tree has unique qualities. Some trees have roots that absorb more water, while others are more prone to a certain kind of pest. There are trees that are more beautiful in a particular season, and ones that are best-suited to a particular climate. A professional can list the pros and cons of trees you’re considering and work out a plan that fits the locale.
3. Promote life. Do you have existing trees in your yard? What trees might complement them? You might have certain favourites in mind, but they may not support the others. One option is to choose trees that naturally grow in your area since they have a greater chance of coexisting with older trees. If you introduce more exotic trees, your old trees might end up competing with – and outliving – the new ones.
4. Mix it up. This idea supports the principle of biodiversity; the more tree species you have in your yard, the healthier they become. By having more than one tree in your yard, your landscape stands a good chance of continuing to grow, even if one tree becomes infested with pests or disease. Each tree is also a food plant for various birds and animals (which contributes to the production of carbon dioxide that trees need), making your garden brim with life.
5. The right size. Trees come in different sizes, and they have different space requirements for roots to spread. A nifty trick to determine how wide a tree root might grow is to observe the width of the tree crown. If you have less space in your property, choosing trees with the widest crown is not advisable — or their roots might reach your home and surrounding pipes.
Old vs. young trees
When planting, start fresh by bringing in young trees or seedlings. Young trees have roots that are isolated in pots or burlap, making them easier to transfer to your yard. Young trees are also eager to start growing, increasing their odds of survival. If you buy mature trees, you are uprooting them in what they already consider their natural habitat and they might have a harder time adjusting to the new conditions of your yard. Consult a professional if you really want to transplant a mature tree.
When looking for seedlings in nurseries, find ones which are “hardened.” Hardening refers to the process of preparing trees stored indoors for the change in environmental conditions they will encounter. This is accomplished by exposing them to the outdoors for weeks before they are sold. Doing so improves the tree’s adjustment to the area’s conditions and it will have a greater chance of staying healthy and strong.
Do you have plans for landscaping with trees? Timberlane Tree Service has arborists who can assist you with choices that work best for you. Call us at (905) 778-9438 or (416) 878-2108 for more information.