There are a few important issues to consider when choosing a tree to plant.
What will be the mature size of the tree?
are looking to plant a tree near the foundation of your house, choose a tree with an appropriate smaller mature size. You could also choose a tree with an upright, columnar growth habit, such as a columnar white pine.
All too often we see a tree that looked great close to the house when it was first planted but over the years grew too large for the site and had to have major limbs removed or even needed to be cut down. If you
Are there any obstructions above the tree?
While you are considering size, don’t forget to look up! If there are power lines above your planting site, you will need to either choose a different planting site, or choose a tree that will not interfere with the power lines when it reaches its mature height.
What is the condition of the planting site?
Site conditions include the amount of sunlight that the tree will be exposed to, the moisture level of the soil, and if the site is protected from or exposed to extreme Midwest elements. For example, a Japanese maple tree will do much better in a protected shady location as opposed to a site that is exposed to harsh winter winds and hot summer sun.
What purpose will the tree serve?
Are you looking for a large tree to provide your house with afternoon shade or are you looking for a small tree to add ornamental value to your landscape? Many trees will offer more than one benefit. A large evergreen tree, for example, can provide a windbreak that protects a house from strong winter winds while providing shelter and nesting sites to birds like chickadees, cardinals, and finches.
Many homeowners are looking for a fast growing shade tree so that they can enjoy the energy saving benefits as quickly as possible. It is important to keep in mind that fast growing trees tend to have softer wood than the slower growing trees and will not be as long lived as the hardwood trees. So, if you are looking for a tree that will provide shade for many years to come, you may be better off with a hard wood tree such as an oak as opposed to a soft wood tree like a birch.
Fall is a great time for planting trees! If you are interested in seeing how a tree will look when it has matured, the OPPD Arboretum has many examples of trees that do well in Nebraska. If you would like more information about selecting the right tree for your property, please contact us!