Trees can serve as the most important part of your landscape. Beyond their beauty, trees provide shade, windbreaks, shelter, and food for wildlife. Trees also help to frame your house. During the 1960′s and 70′s, it was common landscape practice to plant a tree in the front yard, blocking the view of the home from the street. In the 21st century, the average new home has become more expensive and architecturally much more attractive. Today’s landscaping should compliment today’s stylish homes, not hide them.
Attractive homes should be framed, with the larger trees to the side and rear. Pine trees and aging hardwoods should not be within striking distance of the house. In selecting trees, consider their mature height and spread. Smaller trees are best for smaller houses. A naturalized setting would have large canopy trees with an under story of shade loving trees, such as dogwoods, redbuds, and Japanese maples.
Trees can add more to a home site than just beauty and economic value. If used properly, they can control the amount of sun and wind that reaches a house. Deciduous trees, ones that lose their leaves in winter, are desirable because of their ability to shade the house in summer and to allow the sun’s rays to reach the house in winter. These trees are generally planted on the south and southwest quadrants of the yard.
The shape of a tree, its rate of growth, and sun and soil requirements should be carefully considered when selecting trees. A tree not suited for a site may be more of a problem than it is worth. Because of their size, trees are the most dominant aspect of your landscape, and the biggest part of your home’s landscape legacy.
Important Things to Know about Trees
Trees need water also! Many people take the time to water their grass, but not their trees. Trees in drought are more susceptible to pests and disease. Once a tree shows signs of dying, it is often too late to save. The roots of a tree typically spread out at least as far as its outer branches. Mulch the base of the tree to conserve moisture, reduce soil erosion over the roots, and reduce heat buildup from the sun, to prevent scalding the bare dirt.
For newly constructed houses, the base, or crown, of a tree often gets buried in dirt. A few years later, the tree dies. Burying the base of the tree slowly suffocates the tree. Bulldozers that drive over the roots of the tree are also harmful to the tree. Finally, sewer or septic lines which cut half of the tree’s roots often kills the tree.
A tree takes many years to grow. Therefore, they take much longer too replace than grass or a shrub. Keep this in mind while landscaping. Killing a tree through neglectful practices, or improperly planting, locating, a new tree are expensive mistakes that take several years to fix.
New homes are often built in preexisting forests. The trees left by the builder are often not fully formed due to competition for light from surrounding trees. These scraggly trees will not fill out in time to make a beautiful tree.
A tree, not a shrub, which shields your air conditioner unit from the hot summer sun will reduce your electric bill. A shrub planted in front of your condensing unit may block the airflow and have a detrimental effect.
We like the following trees:
They have great spring, summer and fall color and their size is more appropriate for the residential lot. There are more than 100 different kinds.
Sugar Maple or October Glory have good shape and great fall color.
Great summer flowers with heights of 8 feet to 30 feet. They are great for shielding your Air Conditioning condensing unit from the sun. Don’t make your AC unit work harder by placing it in the hot sun.
A native tree in Atlanta with beautiful spring flowers and red fall color.
Good fall color and interesting bark. Good shade tree. White Oak Trees. A beautiful native tree that is slowly disappearing from the city landscape.
There are several popular trees in the Atlanta area and other trees that present problems:
The beautiful peeling bark and airy branches are attractive. However the tree sheds its leaves and small branches all summer long. It is a very messy tree. It also sends out tree roots that protrude above the ground in all directions.
Beautiful spring flowers that don’t smell very good. A Bradford Pear is the first tree to leaf out and the last tree to lose its leaves. The branches become weak and a section of the tree will break off, ruining the beauty of the tree. The dense shade underneath the tree makes it difficult to grow anything under the tree.
Beautiful pinkish white flowers in the spring. The tree can get very wide and it is difficult to grow anything underneath it. The tree has no fall colors and can begin losing its leaves in July and have no leaves in late August.
Good in the background but not near the house. Subject to falling in storms. As the tree grows, the lower branches die and fall on whatever is below them. Pine needles fall frequently and block gutters.
Good shade tree but very messy in the spring and fall. He spring has helicopter seeds and the fall has falling leaves for up to 6 weeks. Fall color is yellow but not dramatic.