A Guide to Selecting the Right Tree for Your Yard
Choosing a tree for your yard is like picking a friend you’ll have for the rest of your life. The right tree can bring life to an outdoor space quite literally by attracting birds, wildlife, and pollinator insects. Or, if you prefer just the life a tree brings, you have that option as well. Trees can bring many benefits if chosen correctly. A tree that isn’t right for you or your space can be a detriment to your quality of life by dropping leaves, fruit, attracting unwanted creatures, offering too much shade in the winter, or even potentially damaging your home or fencing if it’s planted incorrectly. Just like any relationship, planting a tree requires careful consideration and commitment if the relationship is to prosper. So, before you pick out a beautiful tree, be sure to ask yourself the following questions.
What is Your Hardiness Zone?
The USDA Plant Hardiness Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a certain location. So, determining your local hardiness zone is the first key step to choosing a tree. You can do this online or ask at your local nursery. Once you know your zone, you can look at trees that will thrive in your climate.
What is Your Soil Type?
This is essential information for picking out a tree that will thrive in your yard. You can ask your local nursery about what kind of soil is common in your area, and go from there. Your local nursery will likely have the answers you need. However, due to development, your soil may be different from other yards in the area. Here is a link to a guide about how to determine your soil type. If you have children, this might be a fun science experiment for them. What you do is fill a clear, large jar with straight sides about 2/3 full of water. Then add soil from where you want to plant your tree to nearly fill the jar. Add a drop or a pinch of laundry detergent to help the soil components separate. Shake vigorously and leave to settle for a few days. Once the layers of soil have separated, you can calculate the percentages of sand, silt, and clay, and use the chart in the link to determine your soil type.
Growth Rate, Spread, and Height
Next, consider how quickly you’d like your tree to grow, and how large you want your tree. For growth rate, consider your goals for the tree. If you want the tree to act as insolation or shade, you may want a quickly growing tree. Or, you may want a specific tree, regardless of its growth speed.
When it comes to tree size, we consider the tree’s height and the width or spread of its branches. The taller the tree, the more space it needs around it so it can grow without damaging any structures. And the same goes with the trees spread. The wider the spread, the more space it needs. Again, consider your purpose for the tree. If you’d like to have a shaded area outside, then a tree with a wide spread makes sense.
What Type of Tree Do You Want?
There are six main types of trees: evergreens, ornamental, nut, flowering, shade, and fruit. Now, many trees overlap in these categories, but we’ll go through them separately.
Evergreen trees tend to be on the tall side and don’t drop their leaves. They remain green and lovely through cold, snowy winters.
Ornamental trees are grown for their looks or aesthetic qualities. They are beautiful trees featuring vibrant barks, lush greenery, and often gorgeous flowers.
Nut trees, like the American Chestnut hybrid, tend to be larger trees and produce a food crop of nuts each year. Many nut trees make nuts that are edible by humans, and all nut trees provide food for wildlife.
Flowering trees are often on the smaller side and are cultivated for their beautiful blossoms. Many flowering trees will attract and support pollinators, which are essential for a healthy ecosystem.
Shade trees are grown for the shade they provide both in outdoor spaces and for homes. When properly placed, shade trees can effectively cool homes in the summer and offer insolation and warmth in the winter.
Fruit trees are fragrant, beautiful trees that provide food for people and wildlife. They are attractive trees that do well for people ready to care for them.
Find Your Tree at Growing Home Nursery
When you are ready to pick your tree, turn to the helpful folks at Growing Home Nursery. They sell their award-winning trees online for all hardiness zones. With locations in Tennessee and Colorado, they sell their high-quality trees and plants to families all over the country. You can ask them all your tree-growing questions either over the phone, or 24/7 over chat.