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Whether or not to plant a tree is one of the first landscaping decisions you need to make, and one of the most lasting ones, as a tree will stay around to reward or punish you and generations to come. When the appropriate tree is selected and planted in a proper spot, it frames the home and beautifies the landscape, making both more enjoyable. Trees increase the resale value of property, and save energy costs. Plan now, savor later.
Select the Right Tree
As you consider trees, visualize them at maturity and remember that some trees develop as much width as height if given space. Picture each tree's size and shape in relation to the overall landscape and the size and style of the house. Trees that peak at 40 feet work best beside or behind a one-story home. Taller trees blend with two-story houses and large lots. Smaller trees (under 30 feet at maturity) suit streetside locations, small lots, and intimate areas such as patios.
Choose trees from two general categories that will suit your needs:
- Deciduous trees include large shade trees that frame areas with a cool summer canopy and a colorful autumn spectacle. Their winter silhouettes provide passages for sunlight. In cold climates, for instance, the tree can shade a southern exposure from summertime heat, then allow winter sunlight to warm the house.
- Evergreen (coniferous) trees have dense, green foliage that makes them well-suited to group planting for privacy screens, windbreaks, or backdrops for flowering trees and shrubs, yet they are handsome enough to stand alone. They hold their needles to provide year-round shelter and color.
Be sure to include a variety of trees in your landscape to avoid losing much if diseases or pests strike. Buy disease- and pest-resistant cultivars.