What you should know before planting a shade tree in your backyard.
A shade tree is a term gardeners use to describe any type of tree grown specifically for providing shade. Large tree species can establish themselves into wide-spreading canopies to provide some much-needed shade for your yard. This shade can help protect plants from extreme heat or even your home. The cooling effects of shade on your home could even help reduce temperatures and energy bills.
When you invest in planting a shade tree you’re investing in the future of your yard. Choosing the right shade tree is a long-term decision that will affect the state of your yard for years, maybe even decades to come. So choose wisely! It will have a drastic effect on the look and condition of your yard.
Like any shrub or bush you want to maintain, you’ll need to take good care of your shade tree if you want it to flourish. There are many things you’ll need to consider when planting your shade tree. Consider the positioning, soil, mulch, and maintenance. You’ll need to consider the local climate and a pruning schedule to maintain it. There are tree care services available that can help you with this maintenance.
Space and positioning
One of the first things you need to consider for a shade tree is how much space it will take up. How big will it grow? Visit your local nursery and the trees there should have labels with information on how it will grow and mature. Generally speaking, a young tree is likely to grow 2-3 metres a year before it slows down to maybe half a metre each year. A tree’s growth is also influenced by its access to water. So its growth is also determined by its overall health too.
You should also consider the root spread of a tree. A root spread is essentially the area in which a tree’s roots are likely to spread. A tree’s roots can spread up to 2-3 times the canopy radius. So if your tree’s canopy radius is already 3 metres, then it’s likely the roots have already spread out at least 9 metres from the stump of the tree! Don’t forget about the plants around your tree. You’ll have an extensive spread of tree roots sucking up all the water and nutrients from the soil.
Any tree care services provider will tell you that where you plant your shade tree in the yard affects which areas get sunlight. Plant your tree in the wrong spot and your veggie patch may never receive the sunlight it needs to thrive. Plant your tree next to your verandah and you may never experience that gorgeous view of sunrise while you sip on your morning coffee. Some trees are deciduous (leaves their leaves in winter). So you won’t get full shade all the time. A professional arborist can assess your yard and provide helpful advice on where to place your new shade tree.
After choosing where to plant your tree, it’s time to consider what it will look like. Do you want a shade tree with lovely flowers, beautiful foliage or one that’s prone to attracting birds? After choosing the tree species you want you can figure out the maintenance requirements for it. Different species have their own requirements for nourishment. Some don’t need as much water as others. Some need to grow in soil with good drainage. Ask any tree care services provider and they’ll tell you that all shade tree species have their own unique maintenance needs.
When you first plant your tree it’s likely going to be young and not very established. During this time you’ll need to provide water directly on the stump and the area around it. So allow your hose to trickle water over the base of the tree for an extended period of time whenever you water it. When your new tree has established it will have enough new roots start growing vigorously. Consider placing a soaker hose around the perimeter of the tree canopy. This will encourage the roots to spread outwards and establish a stronger foundation for the tree.
Your tree will continue to thrive if it’s growing in moist soil. Adding layers of bark, mulch, and even compost to an area between the trunk and perimeter of the branch canopy will provide optimum growing conditions for the tree. Mulching will help eliminate weeds and keep the soil underneath the tree moist. For your layers of mulch try not to go too thick. Large and thick layers of mulch can limit soil aeration in heavy ground and cause roots to
Ongoing maintenance & care tips
Mulching and watering aren’t the only things you need to consider when taking care of your tree. As your tree starts to mature you’ll discover lots of other things you can do to maintain it properly. It’s important to establish the shape of your tree early on before it fully matures. The best species of shade trees usually have a wide-spreading, umbrella-shaped canopy which effectively blocks sunlight. If this is the shape you want then regular pruning can help guide it.
Consider the tree care services of a professional arborist (tree care specialist) to look after the pruning and shaping of your tree. They can help you establish a yearly pruning schedule to ensure your tree keeps growing in that desirable canopy shape you want. Branches should grow out from the tree just above head level. That way you can easily stand and walk underneath it. Pruning the lower branches of your tree will help ‘train’ it to grow and spread its canopy at the right height.
Sometimes it’s better to uproot and destroy a tree rather than save it. So it’s important you know the signs to look out for when your tree starts becoming unhealthy. A tree can become sick for many reasons such as lack of watering, poor soil quality, or poor access to sunlight. Faded leaves can show a lack of nutrients. Damaged limbs or tree trunks could also be a sign your tree is not in the best of health. An infestation of insects could also be a sign that your tree is unhealthy or dying. Another tell-tale sign is bleeding sap. When a tree loses sap it’s also losing vital nutrients. It can be a sign that your tree has a disease, fungus, or other critical health problem.
Ask a professional arborist
Arborists are professionals trained in the art of planting and caring for trees. So if you’re still stumped for advice consider the services of a local arborist like Daryl’s Tree Care and Surgery. The tree care experts there offer a range of services to help maintain and look after your shade tree. As certified arborists, they can assist with tree selection and planting to get you started. When it comes to ongoing maintenance they can also assist with trimming and pest control.
If your shade tree is starting to look a little worse for wear, it may be time for a replacement. The arborists at Daryl’s Tree Care can also assist with tree and stump removal services. Depending on the size of your dyeing tree, you may have to request a stump grinding or stump removal service. Daryl’s Tree Care can assess the condition of your shade tree and recommend the right solution for your particular yard.
So when you decide to plant a shade tree in your backyard, there’s a lot to think about. Not all shade trees are easy to maintain. Like anything worthwhile, they need the right care and maintenance to yield great results for your garden. So don’t be afraid to ask for advice from a professional arborist when it’s time to pick a shade tree.
Get the right advice before you plant a shade tree. Ask Daryl’s Tree Care & Surgery today.
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