That’s how I feel about them. Kind of a six-year-old’s level of enthusiasm. I just love ‘em. If I could have a superpower, it would be making a fifty-year-old tree appear wherever I pointed. We’re lucky to live in the Midwest, which has an amazing range of tree species to choose from. And the coolest part is, they’re so darn useful.
This image summarizes a lot of the reasons why planting or having trees around your house makes so much sense (at least, when you’re not in an area prone to wildfires). Not only can trees make it cheaper to cool and heat your home, they help your whole neighborhood’s air quality and keep it cooler in summer. And when it comes to property values, trees are golden. They add not only curb appeal, but also real dollars to your selling price.
So there are economic reasons aplenty to plant a tree. But the aesthetics are why I have planted six trees at our house in the past six years. The sound of breezes through the leaves, the birdsong, the dappled shade; they add more than I could ever put a price tag on. The other side of our street is a mature neighborhood, so they have huge silver maples and red oaks cutting the afternoon sun over our road.
It’s getting towards the end of the best time window to plant trees, but if you can get them in before Memorial Day, you’ll be good. If you remember to water them! Water all summer and into the fall. Soaker hoses are a sure bet, but don’t be stingy with the water. It’s a great reason to have a rain barrel!
A couple of important notes before you run out to the nursery and grab whatever is on sale:
1) Know your soil.
Is it acidic, alkaline, full of clay, or sandy? Even if you choose a tree native to your region, it has to be a good match to your soil.
2) Choose a native.
In almost any situation, a tree species that naturally grows in your region will do better. Look up your local county or university extension online to get a list of good trees for your area. If a nursery tries to sell you an ash tree, take your business elsewhere.
3) Pay attention to what size your tree will be when mature.
Don’t doom your oak to a life of ghastly trimming by planting it underneath wires. Power companies often provide their customers with brochures showing planting guidelines. The more you know about the tree you want to plant, the better!
4) Call before you dig.
In Illinois, Call Julie (http://www.illinois1call.com/). Don’t be the person who cuts a cable.
Taylor Studios is on the edge of an older residential neighborhood, so we’ve got a nice view of some great trees. We’re very lucky. I hope your workplace is similarly blessed!