There are far more goood reasons for planting trees than bad ones. In fact, it's not so much a question of, "Should I plant a tree?" as it is of what type of tree to plant and where to plant it. If you answer these questions before you plant a tree, you will be doing yourself, your family, your community and the ecosystem a big favour.
Why Plant a Tree?
There are at least four traditional reasons people have traditionally grown trees:
- Because trees are beautiful.
- Because trees provide shade.
- Because trees provide food.
- Because trees provide shelter.
In addition to these reasons, today there are a host of other reasons why we plant in our yards:
- Trees are known to increase property values: an established tree can add thousands of dollars to the value of an urban property.
- Trees dramatically increase the quality of the air surrounding them.
- In a world of depleting resources and global environment degradation, planting trees is a step towards renewing the planet.
You may want to plant a tree for some or all of these reasons, but before you go to your local nursery
and buy the first tree you see, you need to ask yourself a couple of other questions.
What Type of Tree Should I Plant?
If you are looking for a shade tree, do you want it to provide shade all year around or are you more interested in protecting your home from the harsh glare of the summer sun? If it's the former, you want an evergreen tree. If it's the latter, you want a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves in winter).
Now you can start thinking about your present and future needs. Remember, the tree you plant is going to get bigger - in many cases, a lot bigger. It will not only grow taller and wider, it will also spread its roots. The top reasons why a beautiful, mature tree has to be removed include:
- Planting too close to the house can lead to a host of problems. The roots can undermine your foundations; falling leaves gather in gutters, posing a serious fire hazard; and falling branches can damage your roof, to name just a few.
- The roots of tree planted too near underground sewerage pipes often break through and clog the pipes.
- Tall evergreens planted too close to driveways cause problems from above and below when falling branches damage cars and expanding root systems lift the soil above them, which in turn lifts the driveway pavers or lifts and cracks concrete.
None of these things should put you off planting a tree, though. If you think about what type of tree is appropriate for a specific location and need, you can have a tree that you will enjoy for decades. For example:
- Many varieties of deciduous trees have relatively compact root systems. One of these planted near a sunny window can provide summer shade and winter warmth. As a bonus, when spring arrives, you'll have a wonderful floral bouquet to enjoy.
- A eucalypt or pine in the middle of a wide, open space provides shade and also helps prevent soil runoff.
If you have chosen and planted your tree wisely, it may last for generations, so before you plant a tree, make sure it's the right tree for the space in which you plant it. While you want to enjoy it now, if you make the right choice, you will enjoy it even more in 10 or even 20 years. Remember, too, that the tree you plant today is the tree you plant for posterity, so you may want to let a good landscape architect
help you choose your trees and when your trees need pruning or thinning, an arborist
can ensure your tree remains strong and healthy. You can even browse our exciting new Garden Design Ideas
page, great for turning your garden into a real statement.