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Selecting the Perfect Tree – “Back to the Basics”

by | May 13, 2012 | Market News

There are some basics to remember when selecting a tree to plant. Some of the things to consider when selecting a tree are the size of the tree at maturity, growth rate, tolerances, hardiness, soil, and site preparation. The mature size of the tree should complement the space or surroundings. It should be able to reach its full height and spread. The tree should not require constant pruning to maintain the shape and size for the space it’s planted in.

The growth rate can range from slow to fast. Although a fast growing tree may be desirable it might not always be the best choice. A fast growing tree may have some undesirable characteristics. Many of the fast growing trees available inMinnesota, have shallow root structure and weaker wood.  The moderate to slow growing trees have many satisfying characteristics, such as deeper root structure and stronger wood, that will help the tree thrive for a long life. Apply a simple rule of thumb; don’t be tempted to select a plant that provides a quick fix.

Plant tolerances are very important when selecting a tree for your site. Choose a tree that tolerates the site’s environmental factors. An area that’s impacted by winter de-icing salts should be planted with salt tolerant trees or should be avoided altogether. Areas with heavy soils and poor drainage should be planted with moisture tolerant species.

The hardiness number indicates the trees ability to survive the temperature extremes of a particular region. Our hardiness zone in the Twin Cities is 4. The trees are tested and given a number that indicates the zone in which it will survive and thrive.  Choose a tree with a hardiness zone of 2, 3 or 4 and look forward to seeing the tree as it continues to mature.

The southern metro area typically has heavier soils with a higher percentage of clay. It may be best to select a tree that tolerates moist locations and heavy clay soils. Trees that fall in other categories, such as dry locations or harsh sites, may never reach their mature size or may simply limp through life.

Site preparation is one of the most important parts of the tree planting process. The planting hole should be dug approximately twice as wide as the soil ball. The sides of the hole should be roughened or loosened up which will help the tree root faster. The depth of the hole should be approximately 1 to 2 inches less than the soil ball. This will stop water from ponding next to the base of the tree.

The knowledgeable staff at Pahl’s Market will help to select trees that best fit your site.  Stop in today to stroll through our nursery filled with a fantastic selection of trees and shrubs to meet all your spring landscaping needs.

Spring Snow Crabapple

Spring Snow Crabapple


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