Prioritizing your landscaping
landscaping a new home on a limited budget, trees should be the
first things planted -- they provide the 'backbone' to home
landscaping. It's more economical (and easier) to plant smaller
trees, and it's really surprising how fast smaller trees will
establish themselves if properly maintained. Smaller trees don't
suffer as much transplant shock as larger ones, so 10 to 15 years
down the road they will probably end up being the same size as if
you had planted a larger size tree. Some studies have proven this
planting problem trees
Fast growing trees
like Poplars and Silver Maples offer only one benefit -- they grow
fast. But invariably, 40 years from now, someone will be faced with
a major pruning or removal bill. Many Poplars are short lived, and
Silver Maples are infamous for forming weak "V" branch crotches,
overpowering nearby buildings, clogging terra cotta pipes with their
roots, and creating problem lawn roots. Another tree that starts out
great and ends up lousy is the Bradford Pear, since their weak
structure is usually ripped apart by wind or ice within 20 years or
Bradford Pear just
reaching its prime was split-out by a wind storm
Silver Maple that was
already topped once is out of control again!
These fast growing Poplars are dying-off
after 20 years or so.
These trees were also
a poor choice due to utility lines above.
Look for improved varieties of
trees when you shop -- nursery propagation programs are constantly
producing 'new and improved' plants. An example would be newly
developed varieties of flowering crabapples that have been selected
for their better disease resistance -- a great improvement over many
older varieties that were prone to leaf disease problems. By
planting varieties with improved disease resistance, you will end up
with seasons of satisfaction instead of a lifetime of aggravation.
Newer varieties of crabapples are less prone to disease
The right place
consideration should be how much room a tree has to grow. Are their
limitations to how tall the tree can get, like utility lines
overhead? If the tree is planted next to your residence, how wide
can it get before encroaching on your house?
considerations in mind when selecting your tree will avoid problems
in later years as the tree matures. Also check to be sure you don't
plant trees in rights-of-ways where you don't have complete
ownership. Streets are usually wider on paper than they visually
appear -- what if the street is widened or a sidewalk is added in
Some trees get planted too close to foundations
tree maintenance early in the life of the tree
and maintenance of newly planted trees will improve tree structure
and vigor. Prune out damaged or crossing branches, a second leader,
and inward growing branches. Keep young trees well watered, and
watch for insect problems in their early stages when they are much
easier to remedy. Annual fertilization will greatly improve the
growth rate and overall health of a young tree.
Early pruning can eliminate dual
leaders with structural problems
Be a good 'scout'
watching for tree problems
Keep a close
eye on your trees, scouting for anything that doesn't look just
right. Most problems are easiest to solve when they are addressed
early. Things like discolored or twisted leaves, dead branches, and
bee or ant activity can indicate tree problems that need to be treated.
Never underestimate the value of being a good scout.
Leaves should not be black!
Below: Scale insect problem