This time of year, many people choose to include a new tree in their home landscape. There are important aspects to consider when selecting a tree that include special characteristics, traits, or tolerances that trees have or need to thrive on a proposed site. Investigative work now will help alleviate future headaches. Several important considerations are listed below. Will they tolerate de-icing agents if planted close to a street? Do the prospective trees have insect and disease-free track records? Have upright, columnar or tightly pyramidal forms been selected for boulevards and other confined spaces? What is the mature height of the tree? Height especially important below utility lines. Are the trees sturdy, long-lived that possess a moderate growth rate or are they fast growing and short-lived species? Have you considered the year-round ornamental attributes of the tree or do they have interest for a few short days in the spring? Have you inspected the trees before purchase? The general appearance of a tree reveals much about its quality and potential for success. Have you considered the soil and sunlight in the proposed location? Most trees prefer well-drained soils. The amount of sunlight and time of day it illuminates the site determine what kind of tree can be planted. Some, such as green ash tolerate late afternoon sun far better than a pagoda dogwood. For more information, visit your local county extension office and ask for Guidelines for selecting trees, RG 702 .
This article originally appeared in the 5/16/2003 issue.