If you’ve got a new home that still needs a garden, the first temptation is to fill it up with plants. Most people arrive at the garden centre with a very sketchy idea of what they want to achieve and take it from there.
If you’re planting a flower garden, that’s fine. You can always learn from your mistakes and do better next year. Even your perennials won’t mind being transplanted if you find that they’re getting in the way later on, but trees can become a towering problem if you don’t think carefully before planting them.
They’re the real backbone of your garden and you’re going to be living with them for a long, long time, so it makes sense to give tree planting plenty of very careful thought before you grab a spade and get digging. Here are some tips that will help you to get it right first time.
First, Look At The Site
Where will you plant your trees? It’s not only a matter of how they’ll look, but also the function they’ll have in your garden. Trees create shade, so where would you like the shade to be? What height would you like the mature tree to be? How much room is there for the crown to develop?
Trees drop leaves. Accept it. Evergreens drop a few leaves every day, and deciduous trees do it in one go. Are you planning a swimming pool? You don’t want leaves falling into the water and besides, you’ll want your pool area to be as open and as sunny as possible.
Planting trees too near buildings and paving is a great way of buying yourself some costly problems later on. Don’t just look at the space the top of the trees will take up, also consider whether root growth might turn into a problem.
As for overhead power lines, you seriously don’t want to plant anything that gets too big right underneath them!
Make doubly sure by plotting everything on a site plan. Draw circles representing the crown width of the trees you’d like to plant and confirm how much room you have for them to spread.
Now Do Your Homework
If you’ve got some favourites that you’d like to include in your garden, research the tree species in question and decide whether it fits into your plan. Resist the temptation to alter your plan to suit the trees! Check on:
- Root structure
- Deciduous or evergreen?
- Preferred environment (going with native trees is usually a safe bet)
Choose Your Trees Carefully
Young nursery stock often already shows the beginnings of issues that could be a problem as your tree matures. Don’t buy:
- Trees with signs of damage on the stems
- Root-bound trees that can strangle themselves with their own roots.
- Trees that look sick.
- Trees with multiple leaders (Main stems)
- Trees with crisscrossing branches
Consider Getting Expert Help
Whenever you consider adding more or less permanent elements to your home or garden, it makes sense to consult with someone who really understands the task. You get a builder in to build your home, doesn’t it make sense to get a landscaper or better yet an arborist with lots of foresight to help you lay out the permanent elements of your garden?