Selecting Shade Trees
The perfect tree does not exist. However, you can find the tree best suited for your landscape needs, but you must take your time. Whatever is on-sale now or widely available is very often not the right choice. First, take into account the conditions in which a tree will grow: including soil type, drainage, wind exposure, and available space within which the tree can spread and mature. Second, answer this question: what do you want the tree to do in your landscape? Is it for dense shade, light shade, or purely ornamental? Third, to help you visualize the mature branching structure, bark characteristics and size of the tree, visit local arboreta. What will the ultimate size be? When you have narrowed down your list of possible trees, read more about each one. What are the rooting characteristics, life expectancy, susceptibility to wind, ice or snow damage? What diseases or insects are known to cause problems for the tree? And don’t forget to call the Extension Office; they can give you up-to-date information on trees that do well or don’t do well in this area. Here is a short list of great trees:
Kentucky Coffee Tree, Goldenraintree, Hackberry, ‘Little Leaf’ Linden, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Bur Oak, White Oak, Red Oak, Black or Sour Gum, Hophornbeam, Shagbark Hickory, Gingko, Bald cypress, Redbud, and disease-resistant varieties of crabapple.
When selecting a tree to use in your landscape, remember that there is strength in diversity. By planting various species, you protect your plantings (and your investment) from the ravages of any one particular disease, insect, or environmental condition. For more information about the preferred tree species for this area, call the Extension Office.