As we celebrate another Arbor Day, do you know how to properly select and plant a tree?
The Energy Education Council offers advice for finding and installing the perfect tree.
“This is an excellent time of year for tree planting,” says Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council. “With some research and preparation, your tree will be a healthy and beautiful addition to your home for years to come.”
Here are their tips:
1. Purpose. Will the tree be needed for shade, a windbreak or beauty? These considerations will affect what tree is suitable for your client and where it should be planted. Dense evergreens provide a good wind block, while leafy deciduous trees provide shade in the summer.
No matter what purpose the trees will serve, it is always best to choose native trees. They require less maintenance and will live longer. You can get more information about native-growing trees from a regional university Extension office or a state department of natural resources. For a free tree wizard tool, visit the Arbor Day Foundation’s site.
2. Planting. The next step is to decide where you will plant the tree. For a windbreak, plant trees to the north, northwest and west. For shade, plant trees to the east and west of the home. Remember that fast-growing trees are more brittle and likely to be damaged in a storm. Plant these trees farther from the home to protect the home from damage.
If the client lives in an area that is prone to wildfires, there are additional considerations to help keep their home and community safe. It is recommended to limit the flammable vegetation and material around the home for at least 30 feet on all sides. Contact your local fire department for more information.
Also be sure to select planting locations that will not interfere with the utility lines or power poles. Power outages or interruptions occur when trees and branches come into contact with overhead lines. Electrical arcing and sparking from a wire to a nearby branch can cause fires.
Tall-growing trees with a mature height of more than 40 feet should be planted 50 feet away to avoid future pruning. A mature height of less than 25 feet is recommended for trees planted near power lines. Keep in mind that trees should never be planted directly under power lines, near poles or too close to electrical equipment.
3. Safety. Before planting, take proper precautions to stay safe. Be sure to call 8-1-1, the national “Call Before You Dig” number, a few business days before you want to plant. It is a free service that gets your public underground utilities located and marked, so you can dig safely away from them.
Want more? Read “4 Tips for Planting Trees.”