Trees and Shrubs
Trees and shrubs are the backbone of most of the front and backyards in the United States. Planting the larger plants in a landscape seems to the first task most new homeowners complete. A deciduous tree is usually one of the first selections made for the inhabitants of a temperate climatic zone. In many cases there are at least two deciduous trees selected, one for the front yard and one for the back yard. The selection of the front yard tree is based on shade potential, growth rate, fall color, and size. Size of a deciduous tree is very important. Some trees get very large and can look out of place in a small front yard. The large tree can over power other plants in the front yard and even make an average sized house look small when the large tree reaches maturity. Overly large plants can diminish smaller deciduous perennials and shrubs. Plant selection size will also determine how much a homeowner will have to prune in future years. Attempting to maintain and control the growth of a plant that is too large for the site is a task that will demand a lot of time. Planting the right size perennial, shrub, or tree for the site will be much more rewarding.
Choosing trees and shrubs for the back yard allows for more personal tastes. Planting, mixing, and combining perennials and shrubs and other ornamental deciduous plants can be entertaining and satisfying. The growth rate of plants may not be as important as plant selection. Will a medium-high perennial look OK next to a medium-high shrub? Each spring the backyard can begin a new or different look depending on what type of plant, be it deciduous or evergreen, one chooses to add or delete. Perennials and shrubs tend to look better and tidier when pruned. Keep the pruner handy and prune at the right times for best results. Maintaining a medium-high bush by choosing what canes to prune may make the difference between a medium-high bush and an unruly tall one.
Tree selection for the back yard again depends on the size of the lot or yard. Several smaller trees may add a sense of fullness or busy appearance verses just one large tree. A large deciduous shade tree would be an asset to a backyard if the back of the house faces south or west. Dense shade trees can block direct sun and cool the house and add to the value of the property. Shrub selection for the backyard allows for more plants in different locations depending on the sun, shade, and size of yard available for planting. Many times property lines are delineated with a row of dense shrubs or tall perennials. An unsightly structure or landscape feature can be hidden with the correct shrub selection. Fast growth of border plants may be desirable. Denseness of the shrub border is also a consideration.
Spring is the predominate planting time for trees, shrubs, and perennials. If your climatic zone allows, consideration should be given for fall planted trees and shrubs. Early fall planting can allow for root development and thus a faster start in the spring. The first year growth of a fall planted plant will probably exceed the growth a spring planted plant. Success rates are very similar for fall planted or spring planted trees and shrubs. Care, type of soil, available moisture, and location are the basics for planting success.