Trees and shrubs enhance the aesthetic, environmental and economic value of your property, and now is the ideal time to add them to your landscape. Dr. Wayne Clatterbuck, a forestry specialist with University of Tennessee Extension, offers these tips for successfully adding trees to your landscape: 

* Select the right tree for the right purpose. If you're looking for shade, the tree should be large and sturdy. If you want aesthetics, the tree should feature a graceful form and showy foliage or flowers. To attract wildlife, berry or mast-producing trees/shrubs are useful. A wide variety of species and sizes are usually available at local nurseries. Choose the one that best fits your purpose. 

* Avoid fast-growing, weak-wooded species such as silver maple, Bradford pear, lombardy poplar, Leyland cypress or Siberian elm. These and other species have proven to be problems in Tennessee or species susceptible to disease and insects. 

* Select the right tree for the available space. Avoid planting large forest and shade tree species in areas with limited space for root or crown growth (next to structures, under power lines, near sewer or water lines, driveways and sidewalks). Many species become very large. If planted in a confined area, the tree may become a future problem. If space is limited, select a smaller tree species. 

* Select the right tree for the environmental conditions. Many species require full sunlight and well-drained soils and will not survive in shady or wet sites. Match the species requirements with the site conditions. 

* Plant at the right time. Trees should be planted when they are dormant and not actively growing. Avoid planting during the growing season or when soils are frozen. The best planting months are November-March. Avoid planting on excessively hot, cold, or windy days. 

* Plant your tree right. Take the extra time to dig a planting hole that will be large enough to accommodate all the roots and to allow them to grow and expand. Use the natural soil to fill the planting hole. Do not add soil amendments or fertilizer. 

* Give your new tree a helping hand. Water twice a week to maintain soil in a moist condition, but do not overwater. Mulch the area around newly planted shade trees, but do not allow the mulch to touch the tree. Mulch helps to control weeds, conserves moisture, adds nutrients as mulch breaks down and protects trees from lawnmowers and string trimmers. 

Contact your local UT Extension Office for more information about species selection. 

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels. 


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