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 Trees in the Garden

Trees are often the last thing we include in our garden planning or design, but they should be the first.  

They create the structure and framework of our gardens. Most landscape designers include trees in the larger design along with stones and shrubs with flower gardens last.

The landscaper may design and plant trees, but it is left to us to care for them, prune them and water them. 


Use a tree like this one ( RUBY FALLS REDBUD) to stop the eye from seeing the garden all at once. It also gives  the impression of garden rooms.

How to Choose a Tree

What about a Black Walnut?? Read this before you  plant one - and if you have one...

or... what about a Redbud Tree?

 Then let's see HOW TO PLANT A TREE


     but first....

The great French Marshal, Lyautey asked his gardener to plant a tree for him. When the gardener said the tree would never mature for at least 100 years, the Marshal told him to hurry and plant it.

They say we should plant a tree under which we will never sit - a tall order requiring more than a little patience.

The benefits of trees outweighs the time we have to wait for them to grow. Always plant the largest tree your budget will allow.


The US forest service did some research and determined the annual value for a tree in the 1980’s (including its initial cost) was about $275.00 but over the life of that same tree, that value would be equal to about $58,000. In 2013, that would have translated to almost $125,000.  Who knew?

For every ton of wood that grows in that tree, a ton and a half of CO2 is sucked out of the air and more than a ton of oxygen put back in. In 50 years, that oxygen would be worth more than $30,000 and that same tree could recycle over $35,000 of water, cleaning up over $60,000 worth of air pollution. That is incredible.

We also rely on trees for shade, (imagine reducing A/C costs !); they muffle street sounds, slow or prevent erosion; their canopy and root system filters storm water and  best of all, they are beautiful.

For a different sort of beautiful, check out


Look at the different sizes of each of the trees above- the dark-leaved one on the left, is a mature Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) and about 35 to 40 years old. The Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) on the far right is about 25 to 30 years old, but will outlast the Norway by at least 20 years.  

It  pays to know your trees!

Here are two oak trees - White Oak (Quercus alba‎).

The one in the background is close to 70  years old while the one by the hedge is about 10 years old. Oaks grow much slower, but will live to well over 100 years in ideal conditions.

When we know the benefits of garden trees, it is essential we understand how to plant them properly.  

But before you even put shovel to earth, there are some things you must consider first.

How to Choose a Tree

Then How to Plant a Tree

and - How to Prune a Tree




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