Monday 20 March 2006

In the Zone

Are you thinking of replacing a tree that has been damaged by winter storms? This can be an excellent opportunity to improve the look of your landscape. Many times we plant trees because they are available and not because the tree is right for the location.

Price is right planting”may have left you with the wrong tree in your yard.

The most important factor in choosing a tree is its growth habit and mature size. I know of two people who have large spruce trees directly aligned with their front doors. The front of a house should invite visitors to enter, not confuse them with which door to use. Even if cultural norms dictate using the back door, the front door should be highlighted.

The way to accomplish this easily is to consider your yard as a group of 5 zones, Zone number one is the area directly adjacent to your house, or the foundation area. This area should be limited to trees that have a mature height of less than 1/2 the height of your house or approximately 5 feet. This assumes that your house is one story. This will ensure that your pyramidal cedar is not growing into your eaves. This zone should extend to a distance equal to the height of your house or 10 feet from your house. Zone number two is the area directly in front of your house this area should be limited to trees that do not mature to a height of more than one story or 10 feet. This will ensure that your house isn't buried under a huge tree or your lawn shaded out of existence. These plantings should never break the sight line from the approach to your house and the front door. The third and forth zones are the two areas to the sides of your house. These side yards are where you should plant medium trees that will mature to a height of one to two stories. The fifth and final zone is the rear of the house this zone starts at a distance equal to two to three stories from the rear foundation or 30 feet. This is the area to plant those large trees that will be giant specimens and form a back drop to your home.

These guidelines are, by necessity, overly simple and can be adapted to a wide variety of situations. If your lot is smaller, you may not have a location for a large tree. Similarly, if you are on a large acreage, you may be able to plant large trees in your front yard. Just remember to keep the front door as your focus even if it’s revealed to you as you pull up the front drive of your acreage. Mastering a few easy concepts in tree selection and placement can reduce your overall maintenance and increase your satisfaction with your landscape as it grows. If you need detailed recommendations on the correct tree species to plant in your specific area, contact an ISA certified arborist.

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