5 aspects to consider
to choose the right tree

You would like to plant a tree on your property, but you don’t know which varieties to choose? Here are five aspects to consider to help you make your choice.

1. Think about the site where you intend to plant the tree

Is there a pool or a vegetable garden nearby? If so, choose a tree that will not take too much room, or a large-growing one that you can plant to the north of these installations to avoid blocking valuable sunlight.

It is also preferable to choose a tree that will not obstruct the view and allows safe manoeuvring if close to a driveway. In addition, if the tree’s branches are directly over a parking space, make sure the tree does not produce any fruit or nuts that can damage or soil the car.

In the winter, make sure that the snow does not accumulate on one side of the tree due to wind. Also make sure that its trunk is protected from the city’s heavy cleaning equipment.

And of course, if you plan to plant next to your fence, be sure to discuss it with your neighbour.

2. Estimate the free space around the tree

Typically, a tree will adapt to the space it has been allotted. However, if a large tree variety is planted in a confined area (ie city sidewalk) with confined vertical space as well, it puts more stress on the tree, making it more vulnerable.

For smaller spaces, it is possible to choose a tree with a small deployment, such as a Serviceberry or an Amur Maple. However, it is also possible to choose a tree with a large deployment, such as a Red Maple, an Oak or a Walnut, whose crown will outgrow the building when fully grown.

Also, please pay attention to obstacles (balconies, windows, clotheslines and power lines) around the planting site to prevent the tree from affecting your comfort or posing a risk to your safety.

3. Observe the sunlight conditions

In order to choose the best variety for your circumstances, please note when your plot of land starts to be lit by the sun and when it ceases to be.

Full sun: The site is sunny for most of the day or, at least, from midday to late afternoon. Approximately 6-8 hours minimum of sunlight per day.

Partial shade: The site is partially sunny during the day, or is sunny only in the morning. Approximately 4-6 hours of sunlight per day.

Full shade: The site is rarely sunny during the day or is lit only by indirect light. Approximately 2-4 hours of sunlight per day.

4. Evaluate the characteristics of the soil

Does the soil dry quickly after rainfall or does it stay damp for a long time? Some trees prefer well-drained soils, which dry well, while others prefer humid soils.

It will also be necessary to check the pH of the soil where you consider planting. To see if a soil is acidic, neutral or basic, separate the soil in two different containers. Pour vinegar into one of the containers, if it bubbles, then the soil is basic. Sprinkle the soil from the second container with baking soda. If the product reacts, then the soil is acidic. If there is no reaction in either container, then the soil is neutral.

5. Ask yourself what you really want

Your tree will be part of your daily life. The shape of your tree, its springtime bloom, its production of edible fruits and nuts, as well as its autumn colour are all factors to be taken into account. If you choose a fruit tree, it can be an invaluable bonus if you reap the rewards (the fruit), however, it might be unpleasant if the crop does not interest you.

In addition, lifespan varies greatly according to tree species. Fruit trees generally have a relatively short life expectancy (50-100 years on average) whereas oak trees can live a few hundred years.

Above all, remember that almost all constraints can be overcome … you just need to find the right species for the right situation!