Thinking of adding some trees to your garden? There are all kinds of benefits to planting a tree. The following post details some of the ways in which you can use trees in your garden, as well as how to choose and plant trees.
Why add trees to your garden?
There are many reasons to consider planting a tree. Below are just some of the reasons to consider adding a tree to your garden.
Trees are able to absorb various gaseous pollutants and airborne particles from the air, while producing fresh oxygen. They’re practically giant air purifiers. If you live in an urban area where the air isn’t as clean, you could find that adding trees freshens up the local air. You’ll also be making a small step towards fighting climate change.
Attract local wildlife
Lots of different animals live in trees including birds, squirrels and possums. By planting trees in your garden, you could attract such wildlife to your garden. In urban areas where there are few trees, planting a tree could be a way of improving local biodiversity.
Trees can also help to provide natural shade. If you want to keep an area of your garden cool or you want to reduce heat through a window in the summer, planting a tree could be a way of doing this.
When it comes to dividing sections of your garden, you can also use trees to help form borders. This could be a line of small trees or a single wide tree. Some trees can even be turned into hedges.
Trees are great for providing privacy to a garden. If you want to prevent neighbours looking over a fence, you can plant some trees along the fence. You could even add a tree directly in front of a window to stop people looking in (although bear in mind that this will also block out sunlight).
Many types of fruit grow on trees. Planting an apple tree or an orange tree or a cherry tree could give you access to your own home-grown fruit. If you’ve got a relatively large garden, you could even consider creating your own mini orchard.
Trees can also serve as ‘noise buffers’. If you want to reduce noise from a busy road, planting a line of trees could help to muffle some of the noise. Certain trees are likely to be more effective at blocking out noise than others.
Trees could simply be a pretty decorative feature in your garden. You may be able to use trees with vibrant blossoms to add colour in the Spring. You can also use interesting shaped trees to serve as statement plants.
Choosing the right type of tree
There are so many different types of tree to choose from. It’s worth researching different species of tree so that you can find exactly the right one for your garden. Below are some of the factors to consider when choosing a tree.
Consider your purpose
Different species of tree are better for specific purposes. For example, if you want to attract possums to your garden, a eucalyptus tree could be ideal – possums love eucalyptus leaves! If you want to provide more shade to your garden, a dense and leafy tree such as yellow box or Japanese maple could do the trick. If you want to reduce noise from a neighbouring road, consider arborvitaes, hollies and pines.
It’s very important to consider the size of your garden. If you’ve only got a small garden, you may want to stick to short, narrow trees with roots that don’t stretch too far. Consider looking into dwarf trees and arborvitaes. To help limit the size of trees, consider planting them in pots.
Evergreen or deciduous?
When considering the type of tree, you should also consider whether to opt for an evergreen or deciduous tree. Evergreen trees keep their leaves all year round, while deciduous trees lose their leaves in Autumn and regrow them in Spring. Evergreen trees are lower maintenance because you don’t have to worry about cleaning up leaves, plus they can provide constant shade and privacy during all seasons. Deciduous trees tend to promote healthier soil (the fallen leaves serve as natural mulch and compost) and may be viewed as prettier due to changing colour throughout the year.
Native or non-native?
Some trees are native to Australia, while other trees have been introduced from other parts of the world. Native trees tend to thrive more easily because they have adapted to the climate and they may help to support native species of animals. Non-native trees can help to add an exotic touch to a garden – while some may pose more of a challenge to grow, this could be part of the fun for some gardeners. Be wary of importing rare trees from other countries as some may be illegal to grow in Australia.
Some trees grow very fast, while others grow slowly. When planting a young tree, you should consider how many years you will have to wait for it to grow fully. Most people aren’t willing to wait decades for a tree to fully mature – in these instances, it may be possible to buy a larger mature tree. Obviously, trees are easier to transport and plant when they are young and small. A large, mature tree will likely need to be transported and planted by a professional company.
How to plant a tree
Most trees will come in a pot. You can keep them in the pot to limit their growth (providing that they’re able to live permanently in a pot) or you can plant them in the earth.
Choose the location that you wish to plant your tree. You should avoid placing a tree directly near a wall or structure so that there is enough space for branches to grow. You should also consider the roots – make sure that there are no pipes, foundations, powerlines or other underground structures that could get in the way of the roots.
Start digging a hole to place your tree in. The hole should be two times the width of the pot and the same depth as the roots.
Remove the tree from the pot and then place it into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the top of the hole. You can then begin to fill the hole with soil.
Deciduous trees should be planted when they are dormant (when the leaves have fallen off) while evergreen trees can be planted at any time. Make sure that the tree has been watered regularly while in the pot.
Larger trees may need to be planted by a professional company. A larger hole will need to be dug and more care may need to be taken when transferring the tree into the hole (some companies will use a specific truck for transporting and lifting the tree into the hole).
When should you remove trees?
There are times when tree removal may be recommended. An obvious example is when a tree has died. A tree that is leaning heavily to one side or partially uprooted could also be worth removing – particularly if it could cause a lot of damage or harm were it to fall.
Make sure that you have permission to remove the tree. Some species of tree may be protected due to being rare or due to supporting rare wildlife.
In some cases, trees may simply need to be cut back, relocated or tamed. If branches are getting close to a building, you may be able to periodically cut them back without necessarily moving the tree. There may also be ways of blocking or diverting roots if you are worried they may damage foundations or pipes.
You can hire professionals to inspect your tree and determine whether it needs to be removed or simply controlled. Tree removal is a job that is often best carried out by professionals as it can be potentially dangerous. The same goes for trimming back large trees – such a job may require a person to climb up the tree and cut in a specific pattern, which requires specific equipment and training.
Trees can be used for all kinds of purposes. Knowing your purpose can help you to select the right species of tree. It’s also important to consider other factors affecting the type of tree such as the size and age of the tree.
When planting your tree, make sure to choose the right location. You may be able to plant the tree yourself if it is small and in a pot, but will probably need to hire help from professionals when planting a large tree.
Removing trees is sometimes necessary as a matter of safety. However, there are ways in which you can control unruly or precarious trees without having to fell them. Know when to hire professionals when removing a tree.