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Plant the Perfect Tree for Arbor Day

In this article with DIY Network, RJ Laverne, manager of education and training, suggests some great trees to plant around your home this season.

By Felicia Feaster  

Posted: April 29, 2016

You might call R.J. Laverne a tree hugger. As the manager of education and training at the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences, I thought Laverne would be the perfect guy for suggesting the right tree to serve different needs in your yard. Using myself as the perfect example, I know that I have often planted the wrong tree in the wrong place and endured the results: slow-to-no growth or a yard-swallowing monster. Learn from my mistakes.

And why not get the family involved in this fun way to celebrate Arbor Day, by planting a new tree in your yard? From my experience, children love the experience of watching a tree grow as they do. It's a great way to measure time's passage, bring beauty to your yard and in some cases, offer up delicious things to eat, like the apple tree we planted in my Atlanta front yard when my son was little. A co-worker planted trees in her front yard to mark the birth of each of her sons, and I know they -- and she -- loved to see them grow and know these were their "special" trees.

Depending upon what you are looking for in a tree, Laverne has some great recommendations for amazing trees. But first, follow his helpful general tips to keep in mind when thinking about introducing a tree to your yard:

1. Discover the plant hardiness zone where you live. North America has many different climates ranging from hot and dry to cold and wet. Your perfect tree is one that will thrive in the climate conditions or “Plant Hardiness Zones” where you live. 

2. Discover what your objectives are for planting a new tree. Trees provide an incredible range of benefits to humans and wildlife, ranging from cleansing the air to producing food to providing shade. Think about what you would like your new tree to provide you and the generations of people that follow you.

3. Discover the amount of space that you have to offer a tree. The most common mistake in selecting a tree is to choose a species that will outgrow the space. Understand the full mature dimensions the tree is expected to attain. Equally important, consider the amount of space for roots. Unless you choose a small ornamental tree species not expected to exceed 20 feet in height, do not plant near utility lines. 

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