"He that planteth a tree is the servant of God,
He provideth a kindness for many generations,
And faces that he hath not seen shall bless him."
van Dyke, The friendly Trees
One of the
best investments you can make in your yard is landscape trees.
The US Department of Energy has noted that an 8-foot tall deciduous
tree (one that sheds its leaves) costs about as much as an awning
for one large window. But the tree will save hundreds of dollars
in reduced cooling costs while still letting winter sun into
the home to further save on heating and lighting costs, not
to mention the trees look, feel and beauty.
Trees provide the
backdrop for your garden plantings, reduce noise pollution,
screen unwanted sights from view, provide a haven for birds
and bring color and visual interest throughout the seasons.
Trees can be grouped
into two general categories: deciduous and evergreen. Within
these general groupings, horticulturists have grouped them into
genus defined by Latin names. Some of the common types of trees
found in North America are:
Sometimes called hardwoods, these trees lose their leaves in
the fall. They include maples (acer), birch (betula),
dogwood (cornus), crape myrtles (lagerstroemia),
crabapple (malus), plums and cherries (punus),
pears (pyrus), oaks (quercus), willows (salix)
and elms (ulmus).
Non-Deciduous: Evergreen trees include such
genus as cedars (cedrus), japanese cedar (cryptomeria),cypress
(cupressus) hollies (ilex), junipers (juniperus),
magnolia (although some, like the tulip magnolia, are deciduous),
pines (pinus), hemlocks (tsuga). They remain
evergreen by replacing their leaves while the old leaves are
still on the tree. (The old leaves then turn brown and fall
off). Those that have cones are called conifers. Evergreens
are excellent choices for screening and are used as natural
fences to block wind, noise and view.
Trees grown for
the nursery trade are generally available in two forms: balled
and burlapped (B&B) and container grown.
Trees produced this
way get their name from the method of harvesting. They are field
grown and when it is time to prepare them for sale, they are
dug up (either manually, or more commonly with a mechanical
clamshell tree spade). Once out of the ground, the root ball
is placed in an open steel cage (balled) and wrapped in burlap.
The cage has loops at the top for easy attachment of hooks for
transport. The burlap holds in soil and moisture. When it is
time to plant the tree, (harvesting is best in late fall through
early winter), the tree is planted in the ground, basket and
all. By the time the roots are grown out, the metal basket has
rusted away and the burlap has turned to mulch.
grown plants have the advantage of being able to be planted
at almost any time of the year, the shock of transplanting is
minimized because the root system stays largely in tact (unlike
B&B, where part of the root system is lost, particularly
for larger trees.) At the same time, there is a practical limit
to how large a tree can be grown (and remain) in a container
before it is too large and too heavy to conveniently handle.
The norm for the large container is 20 gallon, yielding a tree
of 5 -8 depending on the variety. If left too long
in the container, the tree roots begin to wrap around themselves
(a process called girdling). When this happens, the tree can
literally strangle itself as it grows larger.
As a precaution,
container grown trees are removed from the container and the
roots inspected, untangled and in some cases even sliced to
ensure that they are free to grow without damaging the tree.
Prices for B&B
trees range from $75 for a 5' tree to over $500 for an 18' specimen.
The root balls can weigh anywhere from 200 to 800 pounds. Prices
for container grown trees range from $12 for a three gallon
(1 foot high) to $200 for a 20 gallon container. Of course,
the type of tree also affects price.