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How to Properly Plant Trees and Shrubs

Home Lawn Shrubs Tree Landscaping

An essential component to any beautiful yard is a collection of well maintained, wisely chosen trees and shrubs. An article in the Washington Post estimated a 100% -1000% ROI on investing in improved landscaping when done wisely. While the prospect of planting trees and shrubs in your yard may seem daunting, an understanding of how to go about planning and planting a beautiful landscape is not as difficult as you might expect. In this post, we are excited to share with you why trees and shrubs make all the difference in any lawn and how to plan for and plant trees and shrubs at home.

The Benefits of Planting Trees and Shrubs at Home

There are many reasons why making trees and shrubs a priority in a home landscape scheme is a good idea. First, trees and shrubs are the tickets to creating an aesthetically pleasing, manicured look for your property. Both provide height, dimension, and color to any yard. Trees and shrubs are not just beautiful; they are functional, too. Trees and shrubs are environmentally friendly in the way they give off oxygen and provide natural shade for the home. A home surrounded by trees and shrubs is likely to enjoy lower power bills thanks to the trees’ natural cooling function. The shade isn’t just beneficial for the home, though.  A well-shaded yard also creates a cooler, more comfortable outdoor space. The combination of aesthetic, environmental, and shading benefits of trees and shrubs ultimately leads to an increase in property value. Believe it or not, simply adding trees and shrubs to your yard can give your property value a serious boost!

Planning for Trees and Shrubs

Image Credits: University of Florida

Now that you are sold on making trees and shrubs a priority in your home landscape, it’s time to begin planning. There are a few things to consider when it comes to planting them. First, it’s important to decide which varieties are best suited for your region. Think about climate, size, water management, and shade/sun tolerance. Also think about the aesthetic look you want to accomplish (flowering or non-flowering, color contrast–green or variegated, layering of plants by size, etc).  Next, choose the locations in which you plan to plant the trees and shrubs. Consider maximum size and spacing—you don’t want to realize that you haven’t left enough room for trees and plants to grow when they become full-size. When measuring for spacing, take into account if the tree or plant will have enough room to grow without interfering with other plants, sidewalks, the driveway, or the home. Lastly, it is very important to consider maintenance as you select and plan to plant trees and shrubs. Be careful not to choose varieties that demand more upkeep than you are able to maintain.  If the prospect of planning overwhelms you, consider consulting with a professional Landscape Designer and/or a Landscape Architect.  They are more affordable than you think and may end up saving you money in the end by reducing errors.

Planting Trees and Shrubs

Image Credits: UF/IFAS, Edward F. Gilman

Each tree and shrub is different, so naturally planting methods vary. The first item to consider and research while planting is how deep or shallow to plant the tree or shrub (most of the time, it’s best to shoot for at or above soil grade).  Planting practically anything below grade is detrimental to the plant.  There are few exceptions to this rule. Usually, it’s best to dig a hole 1.5-2x the width of a tree or shrub. Next, place the tree in the hole and fill with a well-drained topsoil mix. It is very important to water a plant thoroughly after planting. Give the tree or shrub a full season to get established, and then follow fertilizer instructions based on the specifications of the tree. There are great resources online that give specific planting instructions on almost any variety. It is also recommended to ask experts at your preferred lawn and garden center for specific advice concerning the plants you choose to purchase.

The Big Picture

Lawn and landscape is full of choices when it comes to grass, trees, and shrubs, and design. Making proper selections and maintaining an overall healthy, thriving lawn has a substantial impact on the aesthetic, economic, and environmental value of your home. Design and develop a landscape you will enjoy and use.  Don’t be afraid to shake things up by reshaping your property to better fit your lifestyle needs. A yard full of thriving trees and shrubs will provide enjoyment, beauty, functionality, and value to your piece of the planet both now and in the future.

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