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is a bit like choosing a spouse...
-we'd like them to be here for life.
Of course choosing a tree for your garden, is not quite the same as choosing a spouse. There are many different things to consider and it's not just about falling in love with one....
Love might not be enough.
But back to trees.
QUESTIONS to ANSWER BEFORE BUYING a TREE
Why do you want to plant a tree ?
No matter why you want trees,here are more questions to consider
How big will it get? width and height?
Will the shape and size fit my space?
How much sun or shade will it tolerate?
How long will it take to mature?
How much care will it need? (pruning especially)
Will you need it professionally pruned?
Is the colour of the foliage important to me?
Does it spread? (like Black Locust whose roots spreads rapidly underground and pop up everywhere along 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)
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?
TYPES or SHAPES OF TREES:
UPRIGHT: needs little pruning but does not provide much shade in the early morning or late afternoon as the canopy is higher up...
PYRAMIDAL: The branches grow more upwards than out. Like Pin Oak, or Emerald Cedar.
SPREADING: or rounded, oval. Gives more shade; a drooping canopy needs regular pruning. When it grows to full height, it will need professional pruning.
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... also because they are not usually pruned properly or at all..
They grow tall and are weak with large branches that splt off.
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.. Although it is slow growing, I 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 essential.
Japanese Maples provide colour, shape and add such a lovely feel to a garden. They can be pruned to keep them more contained making them ideal for most gardens in zone 5 and up with some protection from winter winds.
And more 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 one or more will be a pleasure.
Oh, you are keeping track of your answers, right?
In a garden book or journal? You won't regret it...