When people think of investments, they tend to think of stocks and bonds. But planting a tree is an investment too. It’s putting forth resources, knowing that they’ll pay off in the future— cooling your home, beautifying your yard, and purifying the air for generations to come.
But as with all investments, you need to be strategic about where to apply your resources to get the greatest return. When you’re planting a tree, this means putting it in a place where it can truly thrive. Knowing how to decide where to plant a tree is the key to doing this.
Know Your Tree Type
All trees need different resources to thrive. If you know your tree species well, it will be easier to decide the best place to plant your tree. A few pieces of information you should know about your tree include:
- How tall it will be when fully mature
- The average spread of your type of tree
- Its growth rate
- The type of soil it prefers
- The ideal amount of sun
- How much shade it provides
- How much water it needs
Additionally, you’ll need to understand the type of soil composition your tree needs. If your tree requires a different type of soil than you have in your yard, it won’t thrive, no matter where you plant it.
Your soil’s drainage refers to how well or quickly water moves through the soil. If you have good soil drainage in your yard, that means the water does not drain from the soil too quickly or too slowly. That way, you avoid overly dry soil or excessively wet soil. You can test your soil’s drainage by digging a hole 18 inches deep in the ground and putting water in it. Ideally, the water should drain in 2–3 hours.
Most tree varieties prefer well-draining soil, so if your soil is too soggy, you might consider planting the tree in a different location, such as at the top of a hill. Otherwise, you can surround it with compost or plant a rain garden nearby.
Amount of Sun
Even though a tree is outside, it may not always get the ideal amount of sunlight. As with all plants, some trees prefer full sunlight, some partial, and some shadier areas. When deciding where to plant your tree, pay attention to surrounding structures that may cast a shadow, such as buildings, fences, or other trees.
Also, note the path the sun makes from east to west across the sky. Here in the northern hemisphere, the southwest corner of your house will get more sun than the northeast side.
Distance From Surrounding Structures
Remember, trees are growing investments. Although they’re small when they’re new, if you plant them next to your home, under powerlines, or above underground pipes, their roots and branches may eventually cause structural damage. This is why it’s handy to know how tall your tree species will get. And if you’re uncertain whether a spot is ideal for your tree, you can always ask your local Austin, TX, certified arborist for help.