For the Love of Gardening
What works & What doesn't...
-we'd like them to be here for life.
Choosing a tree for your garden, is not quite the same as choosing a spouse. There are many things to consider. It's not just about falling in love with one.... because love, in this case, and in life, may not be enough.
But back to trees.
Why you want to plant a tree in the first place?
No matter your reason, here are some questions you should consider before you lay down your hard-earned money for one tree or more.
What do you expect of this tree?
What are your design objectives?
What is your pruning budget?
Do I want to plant a tree or do I need to ?
What will its purpose be?
Some things to be concerned about
in choosing a tree:
Does it spread? (like Black Locust that pops up everywhere with its nasty thorns)
Is it invasive? www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca - this is the invasive plant council for Ontario but you can find one near you by searching for invasive plants in your area.
Is it toxic to my children or pets? Bark or leaves?
Is it toxic to my garden? (consider the Black Walnut)
Will it overtake my garden?
This gorgeous Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) -above- is very hardy as well as being hard to resist. It grows fairly quickly, lives for years, is easy to maintain, can be shaped into an interesting form and the fragrance is glorious.
Its cousin, the Preston Lilac (Syringa × prestoniae) is even faster growing, with sturdy stems, and blooms later. See what I mean about choices?
Never ends, thank goodness.
TYPES or SHAPES OF TREES:
UPRIGHT: needs little pruning but not much shade in the early morning or late afternoon as the canopy is higher up...
PYRAMIDAL: Like Pin Oak, or Cedar and some Magnolia
SPREADING: or rounded, oval. Lots of shade; a drooping canopy and needs regular pruning. When it grows to full height, will need a professional to prune.
And for this glorious tree?
A "Forest Pansy Eastern Redbud"
How wide and tall will my tree get?
Some trees, like Norway Maples (Acer platanoides) grow quickly and are not good choices as garden trees unless you have a large property and even then, they are not particularly strong as they tend to have too many main branches because they are not usually pruned well. They grow tall and are weak with large branches that splt off, falling on vehicles and gardens.
Their life-pan is about 40 years and many cities that planted them for their fast growth, are now cutting them down by the dozen.
This new White Oak tree (above at end of hedge) is about 10 years old and was planted two years ago. Although it is slow growing, I have lifted its canopy to minimize shade in the garden by pruning the limbs up from the bottom.
I was also careful to make sure there is only one leader - or main stem at the top. Having more than one will weaken the tree and can cause the trunk to split when the tree matures.
Intentional PRUNING is vital.
Japanese Maples provide colour, shape and add such a lovely feel to a garden. They can be pruned to keep them more contained and so would fit into most gardens in zone 5 that have some protection from winter winds.
Ask yourself these questions:
Goodness, so many questions.
But the bottom line is, the answers to these questions will make choosing the tree(s) for your garden much easier.
You still have to love your choice but at least now your tree will have the best chance to survive in your garden.
Do your research so choosing garden trees will be a pleasure.