Trees are the pillars of any garden. And just like pillars, a lot of thought needs to be put into their placement in the landscape scheme of the garden and whether they would be suitable in combination with the rest of the garden plants. Don’t forget most trees require several years to reach an acceptable height, and expect a decade or so before they are at full mature height.
There are a few factors to consider before deciding on the choice of tree:
- Growth rate and longevity – If you need a tree to quickly provide shade to your garden, then you need to find one of the fast growing species that will quickly put up a canopy for your garden. On the other hand, if you want a tree that will continuously grow larger and thicker with the years and eventually shade your house from the sidewalk, choose a long lived species. Short lived trees usually grow up fast but become unattractive in old age, thereafter wilting and dying off.
- Adaptability – The tree needs to be suitable for the particular climate, other garden plant/shrub species, soil and size of your garden. If you live in a desert zone, a tree that originates from the subtropical belt won’t be suitable at all. Likewise, certain spruces are more suited for cooler temperatures, and only thrive in prolonged colder climates. If you’re going to plant sun loving daisies, then you wouldn’t want a tree blocking the sunlight and spreading a network of surface roots to compete with them. Even certain soil types may not suit some tree species. All in all, the adaptability of the tree is an important factor to consider.
- Maintenance – Some trees shed leaves often, and others may have brittle branches and twigs. If you want a clean and neat lawn, you wouldn’t want to contend with regular cleanups of leaves and twigs. The eucalyptus species often have bark that peel off by themselves for example; so please consider the maintenance factor.
- Specific pest and disease problems – Some tree types are prone to pest infestation or certain diseases depending on where they are planted. For example, the California oak moth can be a major pest of oak trees around the San Francisco area, where huge numbers of their larvae can potentially defoliate entire trees. This is an example of a localized pest problem that may occur if you plant a tree type that happens to become the newest main dish for the local pests; do some research before you plant that tree.
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