There is an old Chinese proverb that states:
‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best is now’
We owe a huge debt to those who have taken it upon themselves to plant the trees that we can quite often take for granted today. Some of the finest examples of tree planting in the world are right here in the UK thanks to our predecessors of the Victorian era who had a passion for planting trees from around the world on some of the impressive estates up and down the country.
Planting trees has many benefits from helping to provide fresh air and help the environment, creating habitat for local flora and fauna. Trees can actually save money by helping to cool their local area under the tree from transpiration. Trees can help to protect your property or streets from the wind and reduce soil erosion. A tree can also add as much as 10% to the value of your home.
So, there are many reasons to plant trees but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should start throwing any tree in the ground willy-nilly without any thought. Trees are living organisms, some of the largest organisms in the world. Though not the biggest, that accolade belongs to a fungus. With that being said their potential size can cause issues. Planting the right tree in the right place can save money and a huge headache.
What Tree Species Should I Plant
This is where the advice of an arborist or tree surgeon can come in handy. There is a lot to think about but some good starting questions are :
How much space is available?
Trees can range in size from as little as a foot or two to the huge Coastal Redwoods easily reaching 300 foot, the tallest of which at 379 foot tall. But its not just height some trees can be extremely wide, whereas others growth with a fastigiate shape meaning they are relatively thin and frow ‘upright’.
Is light an issue?
Are you planting a tree in a dark area, some trees will love this, some will not survive? Likewise of light areas
Would the Tree Casting a Shadow Cause Issues?
This doesn’t mean you can’t plant a tree, but, should influence your decision as to which type of tree to plant. You could try opting for a tree with smaller leaves such as a silver birch or a tree that doesn’t grow to be too tall.
What are the ground conditions like?
Is the ground constantly wet where you are looking to plant, some trees such as swamp cypress will love this. Others are likely to not survive.
What Time of Year are you Planting the Tree?
The best time of year to plant a tree is undoubted during the trees dormant period from October to March in the UK. However, this is not always possible and with more modernized tree stock it should not prevent you from planting a tree in say summer. It should, however, change the method by which you transplant the tree. There are two main types a tree will be sold to you
- Bare-root – This is when a tree is provided to you with little to no soil just the bare tree roots - suitable for planting in winter, cheaper
- Root-balled – is when a tree is provided with a globe of soil around the tree roots. This type of root system allows for year-round planting
Could there be Conflict Between the Tree and Infrastructure
Is there some kind of structure close buy i.e. a building (especially those with potentially poor foundations), pathway or flagging that roots potentially could cause damage to? These are good things to note but do not mean you shouldn’t plant. With modern planting techniques and a little bit of foresight, these are quite often issues that can be overcome. For example, you may choose to use root deflectors to encourage root growth in a particular direction i.e downward so tree roots don’t interfere with you nice new patio.
In conclusion, Planting trees is awesome and something that not only you can reap the rewards of but future generations will thank you for. There are reasons to be mindful when considering planting a tree but rarely should you not plant a tree. A little bit of research will go along way and will help you choose a tree that will complement its given area rather than become a hindrance.