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What kind of trees are the best to have around your house?

Updated on March 21, 2012

Choosing a Tree

I am a big fan of trees, not only for the many benefits they provide us with, but just for themselves. I can sit and watch a tree and unwind as my mind clears.

If you are looking to purchase a tree or trees for your property then you need to remember, this right tree, right place. This is a fundamental garden design rule. If you put a tree where it gets what it needs it will thrive.

Now, a tree, unlike a petunia, has the tendency to live a very long time and to get quite tall. Not all trees do this, of course but you do not to know what the tree will look like, in other words, how big it will be in 10, 20, 30 years and more, before you buy.

If you purchase a tree that is too big for the space that you have available, it will dominate the yard and you will find it difficult to grow anything else.

More importantly, as you can always find something to grow under most trees, is the potential damage that a tree can do to your house or any other structure on your property.

In addition to knowing how tall the tree will get as it ages, you want to know about its s branches, what the potential width of the tree will be.

The root system is also important, trees will compete with any other plants in your garden for water and nourishment and the tree is a fierce competitor.

Many a homeowner has found that those beautiful trees they planted to enhance their landscape have roots which grow on top of the lawn and these roots present a challenge to lawnmowers but can also damage sidewalks, pathways and driveways, plus you can trip over them.

The tree in my backyard was likely there before the house was built but it rules the yard and both shade and in the fall, leaves are plentiful. I appreciate the leaves they have many uses, make good mulch but the tree provides more than I can ever use.

There are roots along the surface and they are only a few feet from the garage; if I was considering buying this house, this would be a negative situation. The cost of removing this tree would be several thousand dollars and besides I am a big fan of trees and chopping one down is not something that I would easily do.

So if you are considering adding a tree to yoru property, do take the time to find out how much space it will occupy when it grows up.

I also recommend buying trees that are native to yoru area. They are adapted to the conditions and will be inviting to local birds, for example.

Why do you want a tree or trees? Shade trees are important in larger outdoor play grounds, schools and parks, and can help control the indoor temperature through the season. Trees can act as windbreaks and cool the house in the summer months.

This might be the point to ask yourself if a tree is what you actually want if shade or temperature control is not what you are seeking.

There are a number of shrubs that grow to a good size but not tree height that add beauty and can works both as windbreaks and privacy screens. I favour dogwoods, flowering crab apples and lilacs. There are many more that will do the job; but you will pick one that is native or at least adapted to your area.

Let’s recap:

1- Why do you want a tree or tress? What function(s) will it serve?

2- How big will that tree get, height and width?

3- How intensive is the tree’s root system?

4- What other functions does the yard serve playground, pets, garden, BBQ?

5- Have you looked at shrubs as a possible alternative?

When you are ready to buy, visit an established plant nursery or two, talk to the mange and tell her or him what you want and get their advice.

A tree is a long term commitment and when you decide to add one to yoru landscape you need to consider both time and space.

tree

Big Old Tree: BOB Ewing photo
Big Old Tree: BOB Ewing photo

selecting nursery stock

Buying A Tree

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  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 4 years ago from New Brunswick

    It depends, get someone who knows trees to take a look.

  • profile image

    Saty 4 years ago

    I am planning to buy a home but there is a tall tree right behind the house and some of the branches are protruding into my lawn. Is it advisable to go for this house?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

    In general, trees can filter the air, so a well-treed area can have better air quality than one without trees.

  • profile image

    Allison 5 years ago

    How effective are trees at acting as smog filters. Will it really make a difference? I have 1/2 an acre on the hillside in a city with smog inversion problems.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

    Where I grew up there were chestnot tress everywhere. Thanks for the comment.

  • Kate Mc Bride profile image

    Kate McBride 5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

    Bare-rooted trees are better value in the Autumn and the Spring which is when I plant them.I like poplar trees and chestnut trees best.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Have a good visit.

  • profile image

    Mini Greenhouse Guy 6 years ago

    Great hub Bob, i live in a colder climate so im more limited on the trees i can have, but i'll be visiting the nursery this weekend. Thanks!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, happy planting.

  • profile image

    Veronica W 7 years ago

    Thanks for giving me some direction. I will definitely visit the local nurseries this weekend!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Veronica: here are three suggestions, although a visit to a tree nursery is a good idea.

    Nyssa sinensis (Chinese tupelo), the black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), an American species,and Quercus palustris (pin oak)

  • profile image

    Veronica W 7 years ago

    I love this site! I live in Greensboro, NC and am looking into buying a semi-mature shade tree for my backyard. I currently do not have anything planted that will offer shade, and my yard gets FULL sun exposure from about 11am until sunset! I would like to plant a tree ~15-20ft from my house, and ~6-8ft from my concrete patio. Any suggestions for something that will offer shade and not have wandering roots that may crack my patio and/or foundation?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, and thanks for dropping by.

  • Michael Shane profile image

    Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

    Great hub Bob!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    A basic rule, as stated, right plant right place will guide you no matter your zone. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Hi-Jinks profile image

    Hi-Jinks 7 years ago from Wisconsin

    One small comment. Somehow with gardening questions one should name the location zone number to which they are writing from or questioning. One guy mentions a Portuguese Oak. What zone does that grow in. Maybe not in Wisconsin.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Check your local plant nursery.

  • profile image

    c7wwalmira 7 years ago

    Hi guys I looking for many trees to plant around my house, but I have not idea where Can I find the righone also the best prices, I live in Las vegas( so hot) and is de reason I need to find bigger trees, Can you guys help me with that thanks this is my e-mail addrees c7wwalmira@hotmail.com

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    I agree, we are moivng and will be planting at least 1 tree as soon as we take possession of new property.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

    Bob, I think the first thing one should buy after moving into a new home is a tree. Sure, I've made some mistakes, big mistakes, but I love my big trees. It took 2 of them over 20 years to grow truely large, so one must do it early on.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, and happy gardening.

  • websitesecurity profile image

    websitesecurity 8 years ago from Utah

    I will be putting a yard in this spring and have been overwhelmed trying to figure out how to choose the trees. This hub has been a huge help and has given me someplace to start my search and the things I need to consider when choosing my trees. Thanks for the information!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, that seems like a good choicie.

  • funride profile image

    Ricardo Nunes 8 years ago from Portugal

    Thanks Bob, I have been talking with my father and we are going to choose the Portuguese Oak tree: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_faginea

    I guess there are no better tree to plant here in Portugal ;)

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    fundride, check this site and if you still ahve questions, please ask. http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/L350.htm

  • profile image

    judy cullins 8 years ago

    Thanks for all the good info on trees, Bob. I'm looking out at 20 or so Eucalyptus trees over 100 feet that were planted in San Diego in the 20's, My house was built in the 30's by the neighbors-think, from the design, they drank a lot of beer. I love these trees, they filter the street noise and smog and keep my house soo cool in summer and warm in winter. Bu, hard to grow beneath them. We have big Jade suculents around-it's a bit rustic. Any ideas of what will thrive beneath?

    Judy www.bookcoaching.com

  • funride profile image

    Ricardo Nunes 8 years ago from Portugal

    Mainly the first two: shade and windbreake.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    What purpose will the trees serve? Shade, windbreak, ornamental?

  • funride profile image

    Ricardo Nunes 8 years ago from Portugal

    Thank you so much Bob! I knew you would help me on this. My house is standing in a sandy terrain and since I can remember there were only Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster) around but they tend to grow too high and their roots are very destructive. I managed to plant a pear tree, a peach tree and a Carob tree. Right now I´m having big troubles to cut down all the gigantic pine trees from my father´s grounds which are all older than me. My question is which trees should we choose to plant there? Which trees do you think will be the best in this kind of terrain? In my case I had to put a lot of humus and mixed it with the sand.

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