What To Consider Before You Begin Planting Landscape Trees

Posted on: 26 July 2016


Trees can form a major component in any home landscaping plan. They aren't just attractive, though. They can also make your home a safer, more pleasant place to live and play. The following are some things to consider if you are planning to plant trees around your house.

Do you need to block wind?

If you live in a windy area, then trees that can help block the wind are a definite plus. You can use tall, dense trees, like poplars, thujas, or cypresses, to create a living hedge against the wind. Although you can plant this hedge on all sides of your property, it's more common to simply plant it on the side with the harshest winds. In many cases, this is on the side where cold winter wind comes from, since breezes can be welcome in summer.

Keep in mind, though, that you don't want to plant trees too closely to the house if wind is a concern. An errant gust could send a large branch or even the entire tree toppling onto your roof.

Can you maximize the passive solar benefits?

Another consideration should be how you can use your landscape trees to increase the passive solar benefits of your home. This is relatively simple. You want foliage to shade the south and west sides of your home in the summer, but you want to ensure that the house gets as much southern and western sunshine as possible in the winter. This will result in less energy uses to run the AC or furnace, respectively.

Deciduous shade trees, like magnolias, maples, and fast growing oaks, work especially well. The large leaves provide plenty of shade in the summer, but they drop in the winter so the sun can shine through.

What is happening beneath the trees?

Your final consideration is how you use the space beneath the trees. If it's open lawn, then it doesn't really matter if the tree is "messy," since dropped berries or nuts probably won't be a major problem. Instead, you will want a tree with a high canopy, like an oak, so there is room to run, play and picnic beneath the tree.

For trees that hang over driveways, patios, or play areas, you likely want to avoid those that drop lots of sap, berries, or seed pods. In this case, an ash is a good choice since these trees are non-fruiting. Maples can also be a good choice. They don't produce sap or messy berries, and their dry, helicopter-like seed pods are easy to sweep up. Contact a company like Frank Otte Nursery & Garden Center St. Matthews for more ideas and planting advice.