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How To Pick The Right Tree For You

If you have recently lost a tree and it is now time for a new replacement tree, let Community Tree Preservation help with the process. With little thought to the mechanics of proper tree growth, we often pick trees based on their flowers, leaf coloration, bark texture, or even their growth habits. However, many behind the scenes factors will ultimately affect the overall health and longevity of your newly planted tree. When focusing on our urban landscapes and planting material, our cultural practices become of the upmost importance when choosing the proper trees to plant. By starting with a tree that is well suited for the soil and its planting environment, you increase the chances for success and greatly reduce maintenance costs over the long-term. 

LOCATION:

Are you putting the tree in the right location? This is a repeat problem that we see in the arboricultural field. All too often, we see a great tree at the nursery and its size fits the area perfectly, but we neglect the thought of its fully established size. That nice little 15' tall X 5' wide Red Maple will ultimately reach a mature size of upwards of 75' tall by 45' wide.  Location can mean the difference between annual trimming, or rarely touching the tree for pruning needs. The latter is always better for the tree and the budget. Think in terms of the future when deciding a tree species.  A healthy nursery stock tree, planted in quality soil will grow much faster than you think! What is the mature size of the tree? Pace that distance from the planting hole, and make your decision. Or, call Community Tree's Arborists for a free tree planting consultation.

SOIL TEXTURE:

Starting with the soil, we know there is no greater factor that ultimately affects plant growth.  Unfortunately, urban soils are often low quality and lack an organic layer-a critical component in nutrient recycling-in lieu of a nice, leaf-free, lush green yard. Compounding this problem for newly planted trees, soil texture will determine the amount of air and water available to tree roots. Clay has little air space, holds nutrients well, but does not drain well, leaving tree roots saturated. Sand, on the other hand, has the most air space, holds fewer nutrients, but drains extremely well-finding a balance between the two offers a loamy soil that will allow for newly developing roots to penetrate and help quickly establish a newly planted tree. 

SOIL pH:

We have all heard the term, but few factor it into their planting materials needs. Nutrient uptake and overall tree health is directly related to soil pH, and can have beneficial or negative impacts on tree growth. pH is a sliding scale from 0-14, with 0 being very acidic and 14 being very alkaline. Plant growth and macro and micro nutrient uptake is generally best between the 5.5 and 7.0 range. If you have soils that are heavily acidic or heavily alkaline, don't fear! This can be remedied with time (typically within two years), but it speaks volumes to the importance of ensuring that soil texture, drainage, and pH are all acceptable to your newly planted tree. However, instead of trying to move your soils pH range, just work with what you already have and pick a species that is suited to your current soils. **Keep in mind, in Nashville, with an underlay of limestone, we tend to have soils that have a higher pH, thus, they are more alkaline. Here are a few ideas of common trees that do well in both types of soils


Trees Suited for Acidic Soils (pH: 0 - 5.5)

Dogwood, Sweet Gum, Some Oaks, Hemlock, Cedar, Hawthorn.

Trees Suited for Alkaline Soils (pH: 7 - 14)

Hackberry, Honeylocust, Sycamore, Goldenrain Tree, Eastern Redbud, Bur and Chinquapin Oak.


By successfully planting a tree at the right time of year, picking the proper species, location, and providing your tree with all of the initial needed care, you can have urban trees that sustain life for 100 years or more. Remember, trees are survivalists, and they don't need much in order to do what they have done for millions of years. But, many important questions and forethought must go into planting a tree. Digging a hole, and dropping a root ball into the hole is an injustice to such a spectacular organism. Let Community Tree's Arborists help to pre-plan your next tree planting by helping you determine these factors first. Then, you can ensure that your tree will not only please all the senses, but will last for generations to come!

If you have any questions about how to choose the best tree for your property, or any other tree questions you may have, Call Us 615.832.2410 or Contact Us Here

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369 Dade Drive
Nashville TN 37211-4924
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