Ahhh, Spring has fully sprung, we’ve even had a couple of hot summer-like days already, here in Portland.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a tree for your landscape, now is the time to do it. Timing is important because trees planted too close to the dry summer season will require more careful attention and frequent watering while it is getting established.  Fall is also a great time to plant a tree, as the extended moderate temperatures and abundant rain allows the tree to root well and settle in before the winter really gets cold.

Spring is when most plant nurseries carry the largest selection of varieties, and though you can get a great deal in the Fall, you would have to consider whether the tree may have become container bound and stressed over the summer.

Things to consider:

There are a lot of considerations when choosing a tree for your landscape.  We spoke to John Holderness, a friend and client, about his recent experience buying a tree as a homeowner.  His story highlights the thought process in several ways.

From John’s perspective,”It’s not as easy as you’d think, to buy a tree. Trees are not standard commodities, unless you are a big nursery. Then you might order 200 trees from a wholesale grower, hoping to receive them on a warm sunny Spring day, when homeowners in your city urgently need a tree. But if you are one of those homeowners, the tree you buy is a commitment. A tree is a tree, not a bouquet. It lasts and becomes a significant element of your home place. It gives you the pleasure of a bouquet that doesn’t wilt and that changes with the seasons.”

John, Mary and their beautiful “Bloodgood”  red Japanese maple

As a relatively permanent addition to your yard, there are factors to consider when choosing the type of tree for your location.  For example, the amount of sun and shade the tree will be getting, whether you want a fruit tree or something purely aesthetic (or both), and of course the size of the space the tree will grow into.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that your tree will grow considerably as it matures. And here in the Pacific Northwest, many trees can grow quite larger than the estimated mature size specified on the nursery label.  Look at mature trees in the neighborhood for a more accurate idea of eventual size. Consider too if you want an evergreen or deciduous tree for permanent vs. seasonal shade. Perhaps you are looking for a tree that flowers at a specific time of year, leaves that produce a glorious fall showing, textured bark, colorful berries or other winter interest?  Another important consideration can be what type of debris your prospective tree produces. For example, does it drop spiky seed pods but you like walking barefoot in your garden?

These are just some of the things to consider, but don’t let that stop you from enhancing your landscape with a beautiful tree.  Remember you can always consult with Common Sense Gardens for help choosing and planting your perfect tree.