What to Consider when Adding a Tree to Your Yard

When considering the outside of your home, a great landscape design can have a big impact. Homes with welcoming curb appeal sell faster, and buyers are always more excited about touring homes that look inviting outside. 

The right type of tree, in the right place can be a focal point of your yard, and a simple way to update your curb appeal. But the wrong tree, or a tree placed in the wrong spot can cause headaches and even detract from the appeal of your outdoors.

Before you bring a new sapling home from the nursery, it’s best to determine the what type of tree you need, when to plant it, and how to make sure it thrives.

Determine the Best Tree for You

Trees are the answer to shade to your patio, or to add color and interest to a dull landscape. They can also help screen unattractive views and muffle street noise.

Deciding the purpose of the tree you wish to add will help you narrow down the variety of options available:

  • Fruit trees and Japanese Maples are popular for adding interest and color to your garden.
  • For shade you will want to find a tree that grows a wide canopy.
  • Arborvitaes are great for privacy and muffling sounds. 
  • If planting near a pool, or by your roof, consider that some trees are messier than others, you will want to avoid plants that flower, or drop seed pods. Evergreen trees are a great option for areas you wish to keep tidy.

Other items to consider: How much room do you have? Are there potential growth obstacles, such as power lines? Is there convenient access to water? Your tree is likely to be with you for a very long time. It’s important to consider how it will grow in the future.

When to Plant?

It’s best to plant trees while they are dormant, in the fall after their leaves have dropped, or in the early spring before the leaf buds swell. But let’s face it, we live in Michigan and early spring and fall are particularly unpleasant times to be outside digging holes. You can plant trees any time of year, just keep in mind that extra care, such as more watering, or extra mulching may be needed to help your new tree thrive.

How to Plant?

Be sure to dig a proper-sized hole, as this will be the first step to getting your tree well-established. The hole should be 3 times wider than the root ball and more saucer shaped, as deep as the root ball to allow for good root growth. If you plant too deep, your trees roots won’t have the best access to oxygen.

Remove any excess dirt from the top of the root ball, and be sure to remove any burlap or other coverings attached. Place the tree in the center of the hole, and use the backfill dirt from when you dug the hole to fill around the tree, being sure to loosen the soil as you go, Water immediately to help settle the soil.

Help your Tree Grow

New trees will need more water for the first year to help them get established – especially the first few weeks after planting. Add 2 to 4 inches of mulch around your new tree, covering the entire planting area. Mulch helps regulate temperature, discourage weeds from growing, and keeps moisture in the soil. As is breaks down, it improves the soil.

Avoid fertilizers for the first year as it can cause burns and force leaf growth before the tree has the root system to support it.

If you take a trip to the nursery this weekend, take a moment to consider the trees available. You may find just the tree to transform your yard and make the neighbors think you’re a landscaping pro!