How to choose trees

Growing Trees: How To Choose A Tree

Trees are the most valuable and hardest-working part of our landscape. They shade our homes and neighborhoods cutting energy costs and increase property values. Trees add beauty, reduce air pollution and prevent soil erosion. It's easy to find a reason for planting a tree. The hard part is choosing the right tree.


Young trees require special attention if you want them to become established landmarks in your landscape. The species you choose needs to be able to adapt to your climate, as well as to your specific planting site based on soil, sun exposure and resistance to area pests. We’re here to help you take the guesswork out of tree selection.



Why Are You Planting?

Before choosing a tree, think about why you're planting it. Reasons vary, but might include:

  • Casting shade
  • Creating a windbreak
  • Adding beauty with flowers
  • Providing wildlife habitat or food source (seeds, fruit)
  • Giving your yard fall color
  • Growing edible fruit
  • Screening a view
  • Building a family legacy

Different trees offer different benefits. Start by planning with a purpose, and you’ll be happier with the results. Don’t be swayed too much by a tree’s ornamental quality. While spring blooms or fall color are appealing, it’s more important to choose a well-adapted tree that will grow into a size and shape you prefer. Be sure and check the USDA Hardiness Zones your tree choice is rated for. A tree not rated for your zone probably won’t survive. For suggestions of what grows best in your area, check with your local nursery or local Cooperative Extension System office.




Deciduous Or Evergreen?

At this stage, also decide what type of tree you want. Deciduous trees drop their leaves in fall or winter. They're the trees that typically boast blazing fall color. Evergreen trees retain their foliage year-round. They add color to winter landscapes and provide a solid backdrop for perennials and ornamental grasses.



Where To Plant

Think carefully about where you plant and how you space your tree. Planting deciduous trees on the south, west or east sides of your home can provide summer shade and allow for warming winter sun. In fact, properly-placed deciduous trees can cut summer air conditioning costs up to 25 percent. Evergreens provide year-round privacy. Try planting them along the north side of your home as a windbreak to help cut winter heating bills. Don't forget to check for buried underground utilities (call 811).



Determine The Growing Conditions

Start with sunlight. Your yard might have full sun, morning sun or shade. Knowing the amount of light your tree will need can help you pick the location it should be planted. Planting in full sun means paying close attention to your tree’s water needs and the value of mulch. Planting in shade could mean root competition from large trees. Sunlight needs, just like hardiness zones, can be found on the plant label.


Then check the soil. Different trees do better in different types. In areas of new construction, soil may be filled with construction debris or heavy clay. Some soils may be rocky or sandy. Some will have a higher pH. The most accurate way to determine your soil type is to do a soil test. Ask a nursery specialist or your local Cooperative Extension System office how to test your soil and, if necessary, how to adjust the pH.


Consider water needs. How much supplemental irrigation your tree will need is an important factor, especially in dry summer areas, like the Southwest, or areas where droughts are common. Native or drought-tolerant trees can survive with minimum of water and make an ideal choice.


Finally, check the drainage of your planting site by digging the planting hole, filling it with water, letting it drain and then refilling it. If the water isn't gone in 6-8 hours, choose a tree that will survive in wet soils or select another planting site.



Measure Your Space

Make sure you have enough room for your tree to reach its mature height and spread. In general, place trees 10-15 feet away from your home's foundation and at least 5 feet away from other structures. You don’t want its root system, which grows as the tree does, to damage the foundation or any paths. If you have room, consider planting a few trees together, since some trees like birches work well in groups.


You also shouldn’t automatically favor the fastest-growing tree you can find. For example, a poplar or willow will grow very fast, but will often be short-lived and weak-wooded. Many fast-growing trees boast less than desirable traits, including weak limbs, short life spans or aggressive roots. Slower growers like oaks and ginkgoes will usually be stronger and longer lasting. In other words, going for the quick effect is often not the best choice.



Digging Your Planting Hole

When you’re ready to plant, dig a hole as deep as the tree’s rootball and twice as wide. Refill the hole with the same soil you took out and don’t amend the backfill soil. Research has shown this can slow the tree’s adaptation or establishment to its site. Let the tree sit about 1” above the surrounding soil level.



Don't Forget These Items

  • Litter – Learn if your tree has falling fruit, blooms, leaves or bark that could create a mess on pavement or outdoor living surfaces.
  • Pests – Research to discover if your tree is susceptible to diseases or pests. Purchase resistant varieties if possible.
  • Growth speed – Because they have often been in pots longer, trees from bigger containers are often slower to become established than trees planted from smaller containers.



Check Locally

Choose a tree that's available locally. Visit garden centers and nurseries to review their selections. It's a good idea to do that early in the process as you're narrowing down your choices. You can also frequently find lists of suggested trees for your region from regional gardening books, city offices and your local Cooperative Extension System office.  



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How to Choose and Plant a Tree

How to Choose and Plant a Tree

There are many benefits to planting a tree on your property. Trees lower your utility bills by shading your house in the summer and allowing the sun to warm it in the winter. They clean the air and absorb stormwater runoff. Trees help fight climate change, and they’re even linked to better mental health.

To get all the benefits of a tree, you need to make sure you select and plant your tree so that it can thrive. We call this “right tree, right place.”

1. Select the right tree

All trees are different. Decide whether you want a shade tree, a small flowering tree to brighten up a shady corner, a tree that will attract wildlife or something else. You can ask your local arborist, university agricultural extension, botanical garden or plant nursery for tree recommendations. The internet is also a great resource. The USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Tool will tell you what your local planting zone is, though keep in mind that climate change is quickly altering these zones.

You might want to consider planting a tree species that is native to your general region, rather than a species from Asia, Europe or from the other side of the United States. Native trees are adapted to local conditions, and provide essential habitat and food for wildlife like birds and butterflies. You can use a tool like the Audubon Native Plant Database to look up trees that are native to your area.

When you’re ready to buy, call ahead. All garden centers might not carry the tree you want. Specialty nurseries such as native plant nurseries may have a better selection. Or, reach out to your town or city. Some municipalities give out free or inexpensive trees, or have tree rebate programs.

Be careful never to plant invasive trees, including mimosa, tree-of-heaven, Norway maple and black locust. Invasive trees can compromise ecosystems.

Photo Credit: USDA


Be “climate smart” in your tree choice

The earth’s climate is changing rapidly. Some areas will experience more intense droughts. Others will weather more severe storms. Almost everywhere will be hotter. Some tree experts are now recommending that you plant trees that are suited to the climate conditions your area will experience in 30 or 50 years.

Because of this, you may want to choose a tree species that can tolerate higher heat, or more intense droughts. You could also consider a tree species that currently grows at a lower elevation, or several hundred miles to the south of your location.

3. Choose the right spot to plant your tree

Trees have specific requirements for sunlight, soil and climate. A tree that needs full sun will not thrive if you plant it in shade, while another that needs dry soil might die if you plant it in a wet spot.

“Full sun” means at least 6 hours each day of direct sunlight. “Partial shade” means an area receives dappled shade throughout the day, or two to four hours of direct sunlight. “Shade” means two or fewer hours of sun each day.

Make sure that your tree doesn’t cause problems as it grows. Plant trees at least 15 feet away from buildings so there is enough room for roots and branches to reach full size. Make sure that the tree won’t disrupt power lines, sidewalks and other infrastructure as it grows.

Select a site that is far enough from your neighbor’s property that the branches won’t extend into their yard. Or, talk to your neighbor about the benefits of sharing the shade from your tree as it grows.

4. Carefully remove the tree from its sack or container

Do not hold the tree by its trunk, as that can cause the trunk to snap off and kill the tree. If your tree is containerized, hold onto the container and gently slide the tree out.

Do not leave the tree in bright sunlight or hot temperatures before you plant it. Instead, leave it somewhere cool in the shade.

Trees that are kept in containers for too long often have roots that grow in a circling pattern. As these wrap-around roots grow, they can “girdle” or strangle a tree. Use your hands to loosen and tease apart the roots. You can also take a sharp knife and cut an X in the bottom of the root ball to help break up overly compacted roots.

Photo Credit: Brad Latham

5. Prepare the planting site, and plant the tree

Remove grass and other plants in a several-foot radius from the planting hole. Grass can absorb water and nutrients that a young tree needs to thrive.

Dig a hole that’s no deeper than the tree’s container or sack, and three to five times as wide as the size of its container. This helps the roots spread out as they grow, making for a healthier tree.

Gently place the tree in the center of the hole, and backfill the hole with the soil you dug out. When filling your hole with soil, don’t go any higher than the root flare — the spot where the trunk transitions into the roots at the base of the tree. The flare should be exposed and slightly above ground. It’s always better to plant your tree too high than too low.

6. Add mulch

Mulch is great to add after a tree is planted. It looks nice and, more importantly, it helps keep the soil moist. Apply mulch between 2 and 4 inches deep, starting at least four inches from the root flare and working your way outwards.

A common mistake is piling mulch against the trunk of the tree. Although you may have seen trees with thick applications of mulch against the truck and root flare — so-called “mulch volcanoes” — this can actually kill a tree. If mulch touches the tree’s root flare it can invite pests, cause the trunk to rot, or cause the tree’s roots to grow up into the mulch and girdle the tree.

Photo Credit: Sustainable Saratoga

7. Water properly

Trees need more water when they’ve just been planted than when they’re established. For the first two weeks after planting, water the tree every day. For three to 12 weeks after planting, water every two or three days. After that, give the tree plenty of water once a week until it’s established, which usually takes three years. There’s no need to water if there’s been adequate rainfall. Overall, you want the soil to be moist but not soggy.

8. Know when to use fertilizer and other inputs

Fertilizer does not fix all of a tree’s problems, and many trees don’t actually need fertilizer. So long as your tree is growing and its leaves look healthy, it doesn’t need any extra nutrients.

Consult with an arborist if your tree is showing signs of ill health like yellowing or dying leaves. Oftentimes these may be related to other issues, including over- or under-watering, compacted soil, too little sunlight, improper pruning, or pests and disease.

Avoid using pesticides and herbicides. Many of these chemicals are linked to negative health outcomes for people, insects, and birds.  Herbicides intended for weeds can wind up hurting your tree.

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Plant a tree. How to correctly choose seedlings | Garden | Dacha

Sergey Dzhura

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


AIF at Dacha No. 19. Pumpkin: secrets of keeping quality 08/10/2015

/ Elena Popleva / AiF

Fruit trees are arranged in such a way that their life begins long before planting. And any garden is born even before the fruits have ripened in it - at the moment when you have decided to plant it and choose seedlings.

Planting dates

The best planting dates for fruit plants have long been well known. And this is not spring at all, as many mistakenly think, but autumn. Planting can begin when the seedlings are ready to move to a new place (they have fully formed apical buds, and the shoots are lignified by at least 3/4 of the length). In Central Russia, this usually happens around September 15–20. From this moment, you can purchase and plant seedlings of apple, pear and berry bushes in a permanent place. They try to finish planting work no later than mid-October, since the plants need time to take root in a new place before the soil freezes. As for berry species, they can be planted until the end of October: firstly, their root system recovery period is somewhat shorter, and secondly, berry roots (especially gooseberries) can continue to grow in slightly frozen soil.

Stone fruits (cherries, sweet cherries, plums) have their own timing requirements. The less hardy specimen you intend to grow, and the more severe the first winter becomes, the more risky autumn planting will be. Therefore, stone fruits are often recommended to be planted in the spring. However, from an organizational point of view, it is quite reasonable to purchase their seedlings in the fall, dig in until spring and plant, waiting for the right moment and not being distracted by the search for planting material. Usually in autumn the assortment of seedlings is much wider than in spring, especially when it comes to scarce varieties.

In many regions of our country, an early spring drought occurs almost every year, when soil and air humidity drops to almost critical limits. The trees planted at this difficult moment are having a very hard time - after all, the blossoming leaves actively consume scarce water, and the roots are damaged. As a result, plants get sick for a long time and take root with great difficulty.

Photo: AiF / Elena Popleva


The quality of a fruit seedling is determined by two components: health and development. And if it is still possible to “catch up and overtake” in development, then it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to cure a “sick person”. That is why it is very important to choose healthy plants.

It is not necessary to be an expert to distinguish a problem seedling from a full-fledged one. First, carefully inspect the tree. On its trunk and large branches there should not be fresh damage to the bark, reaching the wood. Cracks, scuffs, poorly overgrown old damage (when a dying piece of wood is visible in the wound, the “embryo” of a future hollow) is a good reason to refuse a purchase. Also, the tree should not show dying off or flaking of the bark. Most often, this is a symptom of a fungal infection.

Photo: AiF / Elena Popleva

No need to be afraid of a small surface peeling on the stem. If a healthy bark is visible under the “scales”, this is a variant of the norm.

Young bark on the trunk and large branches should not look lifeless and shriveled. It is better to try not to purchase seedlings with dry branches. Only a slight drying of the tops is acceptable, especially if it happens in the fall and the leaves are not removed from the plant. But in this case, before planting, it is better to hold the tree in a container with water for a couple of hours, having previously “refreshed” (cutting off literally half a centimeter) with a pruner cuts on large roots. The same procedure is needed for seedlings without signs of drying, but stored for several days.

Pay special attention to the roots. They should not have swelling or shapeless growths (usually these are symptoms of bacterial cancer). Of course, the above does not apply to sea buckthorn seedlings, in which such formations are just nodules of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Photo: AiF / Elena Popleva

Correct appearance

Inexperienced gardeners usually look for tall, dimensional seedlings and pay almost no attention to the roots. But we will not do this with you - on the contrary, first of all we will consider the underground parts. A well-developed root system should consist of at least 4-5 large roots (preferably "looking" in different directions) with a "beard" of numerous thin roots. The root system should not look like a stump, badly damaged during digging.

There are standards for planting material that regulate its external parameters. For example, a two-year-old apple tree seedling should be at least 1.2 m in height and have a crown with 4–5 side branches. However, these standards were developed mainly for industrial gardening, and for amateur gardeners they can only be evaluated as an approximate guideline. I would recommend choosing seedlings, even if they are a little “not up to standard” in height, but “stocky”, with a more developed root system.

See also:

  • Mala is smaller. Secrets of creating an orchard in a small area →
  • Selection of seedlings. How to determine quality planting material? →
  • Planting material. How to buy quality seedlings →

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How to choose wood for furniture and home decoration?

It is generally believed that the value of wood is determined by its value in the market or the current fashion demand. Today, the tree is indispensable in terms of our sensation of contact with it. At present, furniture and crafts made by our ancestors have become antiques, regardless of the breed used. Thus, all trees are valuable in the general meaning of this concept. Moreover, in every wood there are features of the structure, such as "root", "pomele", "moiré", which are not usually found in these species and are rare or accidental caused by the environment or the special circumstances of tree growth.

The most demanded product, which is produced from precious wood, is veneer. Its thin sheets are obtained from logs in several ways. For the production of sliced ​​veneer, the static knife cuts a pre-fixed log on the moving part of the machine, while in the production of peeled veneer, the log rotates around its axis, touching the fixed knife. The dimensions and texture of veneer sheets (radial and tangential, pomelo, etc.) depend on which part of the log is selected for production, the planing method, and the characteristics of a particular species.

Radial Sapelles Tangential Sapelles Pomelé Sapelles

As a rule, a designer, when choosing a wood species for making furniture or creating interiors, has to take into account a number of factors: texture, pattern, color and mechanical features of the material. It is important to make a decision based not only on the aesthetic properties of wood, but also on its inherent hardness, stability, porosity and moisture resistance. Accounting for these factors will make it possible to predict the behavior of the tree and will allow high-quality exploitation of finished products.

What kind of wood is furniture and interior items made of and what should be taken into account when purchasing this natural material?

Choosing veneer and lumber by color

Surely you know that dark surfaces narrow space and absorb light, but it is the furniture of red-brown, chocolate-black colors of wood that will add warmth and comfort to the interior. In addition, the contrasting combination of light walls and furniture rich in tone will enhance the originality of the design. It is necessary to find a balance of the dark element in the interior with the space of the whole room, so that the furniture of the intense shade does not give the impression of a bulky block.

Today it is considered fashionable to use gray shades to create interiors in a modern style. And if you are using light woods, you can play with the contrast of the darker shade of the walls so that you don’t get the “dissolve” effect when the furniture or decorative elements merge into the background.

Classification of wood by color:

light sand, whitish-cream wood in ash, beech, birch, maple; light brown, ocher-yellow color of wood in oak, alder, bamboo, teak, larch, cedar; reddish, orange-brown in cherry, merbau, yarra, padouk, sapele, jatoba; dark brown and chocolate wood in walnut, wenge, ovangkola, sucupira, ipe; black-brown in kingwood, ziricote, rosewood, ebony; contrasting shades with a clearly defined pattern can be found in zebrano, olive, tigerwood, ivory, Santos rosewood, grisard, moon ebony, satin walnut.

It is typical for each type of tree that the color of the wood varies from trunk to trunk, and even in the same log there are different color shades.

The reason for this is the natural character, the growth conditions of the tree, the period of harvesting, the processing during the veneer production stage and other factors. You can always change its shade with the help of tinted varnishes and dyes, stains and patinated coatings, but only in the direction of a darker color range. However, you need to be prepared for the fact that when painting, the tone and pattern of wood can appear unexpectedly actively - this depends on the correct choice of coating.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right color for tinting wood, as the surface of the wood takes the dye in its own way and already has its own natural shade. Specialists make a large number of color samples before getting to the desired tone, which, of course, is very costly in terms of time and money.

After the paints and varnishes are selected, a no less time-consuming stage begins - applying a decorative coating in several layers in compliance with a certain technology. In this case, it is necessary to achieve uniformity of application, it is also important to withstand the temperature and duration of drying of the layers, the proper amount of which depends on the density of the wood. In a specialized production, wooden furniture parts are painted automatically in spray booths, where not even a speck of dust will fly by, but are dried in sealed boxes with strict adherence to temperature conditions.

The company "Woodstock" offers a universal solution), for your convenience - we have in our assortment "already dyed in Italian design veneer" (Tabu for the entire thickness. This material has a number of clear advantages: a wide range of colors allows the designer to implement unique projects with the ability to choose the most unusual textures, the color difference in veneer is eliminated, the pattern and texture of wood stand out, and it is possible to reproduce a stable color on a permanent basis. Such material is veneered and processed in the same way as ordinary veneer.

Selecting wood according to texture and pattern

Selecting wood texture for interior design or furniture design also requires a subtle approach. For example, rocks with pronounced textural rings or stripes will be perceived as overloaded in combination with colored wallpaper or overly textured plaster. A tree with a bright “appearance” requires purely plain walls, but varieties with a uniform texture will look favorably surrounded by a floral or geometric pattern, embossed and multi-colored planes.

For furniture that is designed for a classic interior or for high-tech, Art Deco interiors, selective wood with a uniform color and uniform texture will be good. Interior design in the style of Country, Chalet, Vintage, Provence is best complemented by textured solid wood furniture with expressive growth rings. Brushing (brushing with metal bristles), artificial aging with patinating agents or craquelure varnish, making small holes resembling the passages of a shachel beetle will help to enhance the sound of the wood structure when making furniture on your own. For the implementation of projects in the Vintage style, Woodstock offers a ready-made solution - Retro oak veneer, which already has all the above features.

We choose wood according to hardness, density, moisture resistance

Hard and dense wood species that will be good during operation - there will be no chips and dents on them - are difficult to process in the manufacture of furniture. Durable "exotics" can be cut or polished with high quality only with the help of special professional equipment. Having settled on inexpensive and easy-to-process softwood, you run the risk of making “one-day furniture”, which in a couple of years will take on an unsightly appearance. Smoothed corners, even cuts, chamfers and high-quality surface finishing - polishing, texturing, brushing - these are just those important nuances that turn a rough wooden product into solid furniture and require a certain professionalism.

Hardness classification:

soft: linden, alder, abachi, balsa;

medium: oak, ash, beech, walnut, cherry, maple;

hard: merbau, amaranth, bubinga, jatoba, ebony.

Wood slab bubinga

In addition to strength, it is necessary to pay attention to the moisture resistance of the wood you have chosen, since its density and hardness absolutely do not imply resistance to moisture. Teak and Iroko are one of the most bio- and moisture-resistant types of wood, which, due to their properties, are used in the construction of street decks, terraces, piers, as well as around pools and other places that have direct and year-round contact with the environment.

Purchase of veneer and lumber for furniture production

After you have decided on the type of wood for furniture production, there is one more difficult moment - the search and purchase of materials. Here it is important not to make a mistake and buy high-quality wood, harvested and dried in compliance with all technologies: in this matter, a supplier who has been on the market for a long time and has earned the trust of the consumer can give a guarantee.

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