If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent a majority of the winter under a blanket, binge-watching HGTV and thinking about all the home improvement plans that will make your house amazing this spring. Now the temperature is slowly increasing, and you’re still in a winter funk. Even though I am an advocate of a good Netflix and pajamas session, you should start making your weekend warrior plans now so you don’t have to squish them into one frantic weekend before the in-laws visit. So, where should you start?
It just so happens that adding trees to your own yard is the perfect weekend project that adds both beauty and value to your property. One of my most fond childhood memories is visiting my grandparent’s farm during the summer and running through rows of tall evergreens and blossoming apple trees.
Now it’s time to plant a tree as a physical reminder of your roots. Think of it: Years from now, you’ll be watching your grandchildren playing beneath the tree you planted today. There are a few things you should consider before planting a tree:
It’s important to consider your reasons for planting this particular tree on your land.
Are you honoring a childhood memory or loved one? Are you planting the tree for your children and grandchildren to enjoy? Is it to nurture and watch something grow? Do you want to give back to nature? Planting relieves stress, especially if it’s a tree that will be there for years to come.
No matter your reason for planting a tree, make sure you are happy with your choice and that it rings true for you.
Is the desired tree native to your area? Will the soil and climate help it thrive? Trees that are local to the area, beneficial to nature, and pleasing to the eye, have a greater overall value.
Will it become noxious over time? Certain trees will invite certain types of creatures and bugs. A tree is an ecosystem itself. Do you want nesting birds fighting over fruit? Will you hate stepping on all the acorns?
Say you want to plant and tend to walnut trees. Many take 30 years to fruit, and one downside is that the soil won’t support certain crops, such as potatoes, peppers and eggplant. However, beans, onions and corn will not be affected. Plan your ecosystem wisely, and choose a tree ally for other plants.
How much room do you have for the tree to spread out? Consider how tall and how wide it will branch out over the years.
It’s important to choose a tree that’s right for the area it’ll grow within. You don’t want the tree to become a safety hazard during a storm when a branch decides to stab your roof. Also, you don’t want the city to cut half of your tree for blocking the sidewalk and intermingling with the power lines.
You’ll often see myrtle trees in most urban areas with exposed bark and flowers in multiple colors. Myrtles reach heights that could interfere with power lines but are aesthetically pleasing and are easier to prune. They are also symbols of love and fertility.
Oak trees symbolize strength and longevity, seen at historical sites for that reason. You may have had a tree house in an oak tree or a fond memory of reading underneath one. While tree houses are fine, you don’t want to plant an oak right next to your house.
It’s important to consider the tree’s root system, which will expand and mirror its branches. Underground structures may interrupt the tree’s growth and cause major problems.
Know where your septic system is before digging. Many trees are not safe to plant near a septic system. Survey the land to know what’s underneath before you dig.
Also, when planting or transplanting a tree, many people dig holes that are too deep or too narrow. The roots will need to have room to expand and get nourishment. It’s important to dig the right kind of hole for the tree. Consider the tree’s stage of growth and its previous environment so you don’t shock it during transplant. Each tree will have a different approach to digging the hole.
That’s right: Nature can help you save money on your power bill. A tree that is well-placed will be aesthetic, won’t pose a hazard and will help lessen the cost of heating and cooling over time.
Consider the area of your home that receives the most sunlight. It’s advisable to plant deciduous trees toward the south to cool the home during summer, but they need to extend over the roof. In winter, these trees will allow the sun to shine through their bare branches to heat the home.
Did you know that you are able to shift wind patterns with tree planting? Place evergreens toward the north and northwest, to redirect brisk wind around or over your home. Linear groupings or curved lines of trees are best for wind protection.
Here is my tree-planting wish for you: May your tree house birds that will sing, beautifully and not shrilly, in the wee hours of the morning. May your tree protect your home from wind and shield it from the storm. May your tree give you the best memories in your golden years. Now all you need to do is find it, plant it, and proceed to frolick.