People often forget that trees are plants when it comes to home gardening and landscape work. At Bradley Trees, we don’t because we’re passionate about trees. How do you know which tree is best for you? Today, we’re taking a look at some tips to decide which one is right for you and your WNY landscape.
According to Tom Draves, the president of the Draves Arboretum, people need to know what they’re looking for out of a tree before planting. Ask yourself, “why do I want to plant a tree?” There’s plenty of great reasons to do so, but knowing why you’re doing it will make choosing the right one easier.
According to Draves, some of the things to consider are shade, size, tree shape, summer/fall foliage, flowers, and an interesting bark texture. These factors aren’t everything, but they should give you a good start in deciding which tree you want to plant.
Tree Size, Shape, and Needs
Tree size and shape are arguably the biggest things to keep in mind. Where do you plan on putting the tree? A big oak probably shouldn’t be going by your patio or near power lines, and similarly, a smaller dogwood may not be the best privacy tree on your property line.
Obviously, you shouldn’t plant a sapling of a large tree near power lines. If a tree is tall and wide, putting it near power lines is a bad idea. You might be able to get away with a thinner tree in that spot, though please consult a certified arborist beforehand. It’s also a balancing act, making sure trees are in the best spot to better your landscaping and add value.
Of course, size and shape aren’t the only factors at play here. You also have to consider the trees’ needs. What kind of soil are you working with? Different trees have different soil tolerations. Is your soil dry or moist? Acidic? Heavier? These factors are also relevant when it comes to newly planted trees at your home.
Visit an Arboretum
A good way to see how your tree may look when fully mature is to head to an arboretum. They’re a botanical garden specifically for trees, fantastic for educational purposes. When you visit an arboretum, you not only get to see a huge variety of tree species but also how they look when mature. Here in the Buffalo area, there are a few to choose from. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens for example feature an arboretum and the aforementioned Draves Arboretum.
Draves is also one of about 30 Level III Accredited Arboreta in the world. Meaning they have at least 500 species of woody plants, a collections curator, substantial educational programs, collaborate with other arboreta, publicize their collections and actively participate in tree science/conservation. The next and highest level is Level IV, and we do have one here in New York, but it’s close to the City.
When arboretums plant a new tree, they have to think about many of the same things that you would at home. Will it have enough light where they want it? Can the tree tolerate the soil conditions? Will its roots have the space they need? For example, Red Oaks don’t like wet soil so if the Buffalo Botanical Gardens wanted to plant a new one, they would need to ensure that condition is met.
Some Tree Tips
If you’re planning on getting construction work done, plan it around your current trees. Any time you plan on having heavy machinery on your yard, you should contact an arborist to have a plan drawn up for the contractors to avoid existing trees.
The reason for this isn’t the roots getting torn up, as I’m sure you’re thinking. Its because of soil compaction. That heavy equipment can drive over root zones and compact the soil, and after digging the excavated material could cover the root zone, smothering the root underneath. You won’t see the damage for a few years, but it will come, and it could have been avoided entirely.
Another tip for the continued health of your trees; have an arborist keep coming back to check up over the years. Don’t wait for your trees to have problems, a local certified arborist in Buffalo can spot a potential issue before you ever notice it.
Here at Bradley Trees, we believe in taking care of your trees as much as possible and educating you as much as we can. Let us make your tree planting process as easy as possible. Our licensed arborists in Buffalo NY are the best in the area and are always happy to assist you. Call us today at 716.293.2901 or fill out a contact form to get in touch! Don’t forget to stay tuned to our blog, where we go over things like proper tree care, tree pruning guidelines, give some advice on what to plant next and more! Like us on Facebook and you can follow along with what our arborists are getting up to.