Picking a tree for your yard: Important steps to take and mistakes to avoid

Why trees are great

Picking a tree for your yard is a big decision. However, it’s one that you will reap the benefits from for years to come if proper care is taken in the beginning.

A new tree has the potential to add to the unique character of your home, enhance your outdoor living space and improve air quality in your community. They can also provide shade and privacy where needed.

In addition to this, recent studies have shown trees provide a number of health benefits to people. Just looking at a tree for a few minutes at a time can help lower blood pressure and muscle tension. So it’s safe to say there are a lot of positive outcomes that result from adding trees to a space. But we want to head warning that it’s not a one size fits all process.

Why it’s important to choose wisely

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when picking a tree for your yard. These include size, species, surrounding area and existing dirt composition. Many councils also have specific requirements based on the natural vegetation in your neighbourhood so it’s important to be aware of them. You can learn more about Local Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) here.

The more homework you do the better chance you have of growing a healthy tree you get to enjoy versus one that could cause problems down the road. If you’re feeling overwhelmed our experts at TreeLink are available to impart our knowledge. We feel that all trees are a worthwhile investment but choosing the right one can be difficult.

Things to do before you head to a tree nursery

  • Measure the area and search for a species that is suited to the size of the space.
  • Take note of the conditions of where you’re going to plant the tree. These include moisture and sun exposure. Working against what’s naturally occurring will make for a frustrating and expensive experience.
  • Get the dirt on your dirt. Find out whether it’s nutrient-poor or rich. We share some tips later in this article on how to prep your soil.
  • Learn about the species of tree you’d like to plant. You’ll want to know things such as how much foliage it will drop into you or your neighbour’s yard and how often you will need to call on arborists like TreeLink to prune and maintain your tree(s).

Once you are at the nursery have a look at the branches and roots to make sure they are healthy and not overcrowded. If a tree has been living in a pot that is too small for it, there is a chance its roots might start to girdle. This is when the roots start to grow in towards the trunk and as a result, instead of delivering nutrients, they actually start to work against the tree and restrict its intake.

Common mistakes to avoid

One of the most common mistakes to avoid when picking a tree for your yard is adding new soil to a hole that has just been dug without breaking up or cultivating the surrounding soil. Tree’s will sometimes favour the nutrient-rich area and only grow within this confined space. When this happens a tree doesn’t become properly rooted to the ground and is at risk of toppling over in high winds or when the earth becomes soft with heavy rainfall.

Another common mistake to avoid is not leaving an inch or two of the root crown (the part where the trunk meets the roots) exposed. This is often overlooked but it is an essential step and if forgotten can be the difference between life or death for your new tree.

While there is a lot to consider when picking a tree for your yard, taking time to carefully select and plant your new tree will mean that you, your family, your neighbours and your community will get to enjoy the multitude of benefits that trees provide. And once it’s in place you can always count on us to keep it healthy and happy and ensure the longevity of your tree(s).