Tree selection is one of the most important investment decisions a homeowner makes when landscaping a new home, or replacing a tree lost to damage or disease.

Most trees can outlive the people who plant them; therefore, the impact of this decision is one that can last a lifetime. Matching the tree to the site is critical. The following site and tree demands should be considered before buying and planting a tree:

Planting a tree

Site Considerations

  • Available space above and below ground
  • Water availability
  • Drainage
  • Soil texture and pH
  • Sunlight levels/exposure
  • Weather and other environmental factors

Tree Considerations

  • Growth rate of the species selected
  • Mature size
  • Form
  • Hardiness ability of a plant to survive low temperatures
  • Heat tolerance and drought tolerance
  • Pest resistance
  • Maintenance issues
  • Native versus nonnative species

Selecting Trees at the Nursery

When you buy a high-quality tree correctly, plant and properly treat it. Both you and your tree will benefit for many years. When you buy a low-quality tree, you and your tree will have many costly problems, even if you take great care in planting and maintenance.

Things to Consider

  1. Tree should appear healthy. No discolored bark, wilted leaves, etc.
  2. Branches should be evenly spaced around the trunk
  3. Trunk should taper from a solid base, gradually becoming more slender towards the top
  4. Tree foliage and branches should be distributed on upper 2/3 of tree
  5. Tree should contain a central, dominant leader
  6. Tree should be free from mechanical damage
  7. Tree should be free from insects and diseases
  8. Roots should not be girdling, circling or pot-bound