We recently published an article about how trees get stressed out and what to do to nurse them back to health. However, one of the biggest problems trees have is they aren’t the right species for the climate (or micro-climate) that they are planted in. This is probably the biggest factor in controlling the health of a tree. For example, a palm tree in the Twin Cities wouldn’t have much of a chance of surviving and while that is an obvious example, we frequently plant trees that are, doomed to a shorter life to the simple fact that they aren’t in soil, sunlight or a hardiness zone that is suitable to their species.
One thing for sure is that a mature tree becomes the focal point of your landscape due to their height and size. They also,
- Define space
- Act as wind barriers
- Provide privacy
Trees play a lot of roles and accordingly you should base your pick on the primary purpose or purposes that your tree will fulfill.
Most trees fall into one of four categories; shade trees, flowering trees, ornamental trees, and evergreen trees. Each has an important role and strength depending on your need.
Large evergreens are effective wind breaks and many types of pine and spruce trees are available for this. Evergreens come in many shades of green, blue and even gold. Planting evergreens can also be effective in creating natural privacy screens. Small, narrow evergreens like cedars and arbor vitae are another choice used for privacy screens in small compact area. For example, blocking a window in homes with small lots.
Thousands of choices but don’t fall in love to fast. An impulse choice can lead to a fast fading specimen. Ornamental trees are chosen primarily for their visual appeal. These are chosen for high-visibility locations to improve the WOW-factor of a commercial or residential landscape. These include Japanese maples, a large variety of conifers and of course flowering trees
Within the category of ornamental trees technically, but deserving of their own special category, flowering trees can be large bushes or something more sweeping and majestic like a weeping cherry tree. A flowering tree provides a focal point, while in bloom. Multiple flowering trees can be planted in groups or lining a driveway to enhance visual appeal. Consider the the size and the sun or shade needs for your flowering tree before planting. Once the flowers bloom and fall-away, typically after a few weeks, will the tree still be useful in the spot that you plan to plant. Flowering trees to consider are Eastern redbuds, flowering dogwoods, crabapples, or service-berries. Since their crown and branch spread is smaller, they will provide direct shade to a specific spot.
Tall and sweeping deciduous (leafy) trees provide shade over large parts of your lot but choosing the right species should also take into account life span, clean -up (some trees can be messier than others) and overhead or underground structures (water mains, sidewalks). Yet when the leaves fall in winter. All that cooling shade turns to allowing warming sun in. In fact, shade trees are a great way to control heating and cooling costs. Pine oaks, lindens, tulip trees, and catalpa’s.