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Ready to plant a new tree? How to choose the right tree.

Did you know that winter is a great time to plant trees here in Texas?
Because our soils don’t freeze here in the DFW area, we can plant trees
all winter long. With our extremely hot and dry summers, it’s always
best to plant new trees well before the onset of summer. The more time
you can give your new tree to acclimate and put down some new roots, the
better. Now is a great time to get planting.

Due to persistent drought in Texas over the last few years, we’ve lost 500 million trees.
Let’s say that again: 500 million trees!
According to the recent Dallas
tree survey study performed by the Texas Trees Foundation, Dallas
residents and builders need to plant 3 million trees to help recover our
losses

But planting a tree isn’t enough: It’s just as important to
plant the right types of trees and plant them the right way in order to
ensure their long-term health. Many urban tree loses can be attributed
to improper planting
practices, the wrong tree planted in the wrong place or poor
maintenance. Choosing a new tree is like choosing a new family member:
It has to be a great fit!

The first step in choosing the
right tree is to set a goal: Do you have a sunny front landscape that
you need to shade? Do you need to plant a tree that offers shade, but
won’t interfere with power lines? Are you looking for spring blooming
focal plant or maybe some fall color? No matter what reason you plant a
tree, its good to consider the specific reasons why you need and want
the tree.

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Chinese Pistache is perfect for smaller urban landscapes and offers gorgeous fall color.

How big?

Now
that you know why you want to plant a tree, you’ll need to consider the
space in which you want to plant it. If you need some shade, but don’t
have room for a huge live oak, then a Chinese Pistache may be a better
fit. This tree tops out at 40-50′ tall and 30′ wide. It’s a good choice
for space where there are nearby power lines. Other popular trees, such
as red oaks or cedar elms, can reach an impressive 80-feet tall. So if
you choose such a specimen, you’d better make sure you have a large,
open and clear space. When you plant a tree that will ultimately outgrow
its space, over-pruning and ultimately removal are often the result.

Placement

Large trees can also interfere with your home’s structural integrity.
Planting certain species too close to the house could also encourage
roots to grow through plumbing pipes or into the foundation of your
home. When selecting your tree, you’ll need to know both the height and
the spread it will grow to and then allow for that amount of space for
your tree to grow over time. Again, large oak trees, ash, willow and
others, are not good choices for planting close to the house. Smaller
specimens, such as redbud, Mexican plum or fruit trees can be planted a
bit closer to the home.

Tree placement checklist:

Proximity to driveways and sidewalks.
Your tree’s roots can grow 2 to 3 times as wide as the canopy. Choosing
a large tree to plant a few feet from a driveway could damage the
driveway or sidewalk; and the tree roots! Consider the surrounding
hardscape surfaces when choosing the type and placement of your tree.

Power lines. Keep in mind that once your tree starts to come in contact with power lines
it creates a dangerous situation. Often, the power company will have to
drastically prune back your tree in these situations. As much as half
of your tree’s canopy could be completely removed! This type of pruning
is not only devastating to the health of the tree, but it destroys the
look of the tree. Avoid planting trees under or near power lines, especially on city easements.

Light exposure.
It’s important to know what kind of light your chosen tree needs in
order to thrive. Some trees simply can’t handle our intense Texas summer
sun. For example, if you plan to plant a Japanese maple, know that it
should be treated as an understory tree, as it will need shade through
the afternoon in order to thrive. Most large shade trees appropriate for
the DFW area will need sunny conditions to thrive. If your newly
planted trees are going to get shaded out most of the day by neighboring
buildings or homes, they may have a difficult time getting established.

Irrigation.
When planting, its always a good idea to know where your irrigation
lines are so as not to damage one during planting. If you’re going to
have a new tree planted, be sure to identify and flag your irrigation
heads and lines prior to planting.

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These
bald cypress were planted directly under short power lines. It’s only a
matter of time before much of this tree’s canopy will have to be
removed

Evergreen or Deciduous?

A
large shade tree that stays evergreen can play an important role in
keeping a home cool in summer. Plant a large evergreen on a west or
south facing side of your home to keep it cooler in summer. Or, plant a
deciduous tree (trees that drop their leaves in winter) to let the sun
shine on your home in winter to keep it warm. Keep in mind that even
when a tree drops its leaves, it can still be a beautiful feature in the
landscape. Bald cypress, crapemyrtles and Mexican plum trees are just a few examples trees with beautiful shapes and interesting bark.

Ready to plant a tree? We can help!
While many trees can be planted by homeowners, we specialize in helping
you choose the right tree for your space and properly plant them when
you are unable to. Give us a call this month to plant!

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