Choosing and purchasing a tree for your garden is one of the most important garden decisions you will make. Most garden plants can be removed fairly easily – but not trees! Choose wisely, and your property will go up in value. Choose unwisely, and you will surely regret it in the future. Some trees can be extremely expensive. To ensure you don’t waste your money, or have future grief, consider the following.
- When buying a tree, it is better to choose a young specimen, rather than an older and larger one. It is tempting to think that a large tree will give you an instant head-start on growth. Rarely is this the case. A small tree will easily catch up to its larger counterpart and quickly surpass it. A small tree will grow and adapt to its new location quickly and with less stress on the plant. An older tree could take years to recover from the transplant and may never thrive.
- Try to pick a tree grown in a large, plastic pot – not a balled and burlap-wrapped tree. The roots will be disturbed less when you take it out to plant.
- Look up before you plant! Are there wires overhead? If so, don’t plant the tree there. This is not rocket science, yet I cringe to think how often I have seen “professional landscapers” plant Sequoias or other massive trees directly under overhead wires.
- Don’t plant the tree too deeply. This is another advantage to planting a potted tree. Keep the soil surface at the same level it was in the pot.
- Don’t plant your tree too close to any buildings, fences, or decks.
- Think about leaf litter (and fruit debris) if you plant near your patio. Even a “tidy” tree requires sweeping and cleaning underneath it.
- Don’t plant fruit trees if you have bears or rats in your area. I prefer going to the farmer’s market to get my fruit rather than deal with bears and rats.
- Try to choose smaller trees over larger trees. Large, dense foliage can become depressing.
- Be careful not to plant trees that “sucker”. You will be forever “weeding” around the base of the tree.
- Choose a tree that will live a long time. Some trees have very short lives (less than 15 years) and others will outlive your grandchildren. Planting a tree can be an investment for future generations.
I hope these tips will provide you with the information you need to purchase and plant a tree that you will be happy with for decades to come.