Well, it’s fall! This means it is time to think about planting again. Fall is a classic time to install new trees and plants and get them established to handle the high heat of next year’s summer. Most plant material does better when it is planted in the fall. However, some trees, such as the Leyland cypress and the Hornbeam have a fall dig hazard and do not like being dug in this season. It is important to check for fall dig hazard when you pick your plants!
There are several items to consider when choosing trees for your landscape. The main thing is to do a complete site analysis . Check to make sure you are choosing a plant that will thrive in the soil type you have in your yard. The structure and ph as well as the nutrient make up should be considered. This can be done with a soil probe and a basic soil test. Secondly, figure out how much sun the tree will get and if it matches the optimal amount for the specie. Third, how moist is the area? Is it a wet site? For example, a Willow or a Bald Cypress thrive in wet areas whereas a White Pine do not like wet feet and will languish. Once you have all of those facts in order, it is important to consider the space in which the tree will be planted. When the tree reaches its mature state, is there sufficient space to accommodate its full spread? If there are over head wires you may have issues with the power company coming along and improperly pruning your tree after it grew nicely for many years. Lastly , if you are planting multiple trees, please consider mixing up your plant selection to include several species. Here is an example. If you are going to plant a row of evergreens for a screen planting, instead of planting all one type like Leyland Cypress or White Pine, choose several kind. Here is a simple way to do it. If you are to plant a total of say, nine trees, pick three different types and plant three of each. You could use the same formula for higher numbers as well even adding a specie if the total number of plants is more. This technique does a couple of things. It adds bio diversity to your property adding color, shape and texture differences. It also guards against an insect or disease wiping out all of your trees as many pathogens are specie specific. For example, the White Pine weevil won’t attack Hollies, etc.
If you still are not sure of the best way to proceed get a hold of a state certified tree expert or your local extension agency to help you with soil analysis and plant selection. Or check out the international society of arboriculture website for additional resources.