How To Choose The Best Trees From A Tree Nursery?

Trees bring out the best in landscape design. They instantly enhance the environment and have numerous benefits. Trees increase property value, improve the building’s appeal, and help promote the quality of life. They also increase biodiversity and reduce noise pollution. The challenge is finding quality trees that will ensure proper growth and development. So how does one go about finding the best quality trees for your landscape project and how do you choose the best tree supplier? 

Choosing the right tree for your environment and landscape project requires a lot of research. You need to be able to distinguish between healthy trees and those with a poor structure, disease-ridden, and pest infestation. Unfortunately, this takes years of acquiring knowledge and experience, so it’s best to choose a reputable tree nursery. A reputable tree nursery hires arborists who use their knowledge and skills to propagate and raise trees from saplings that grow to maturity without issues. Choosing the right tree nursery increases the probability of planting trees that will ensure optimal growth and development. Great tree nurseries provide trees that will survive post-planting without any problems. 

Most quality trees start life in a tree nursery. These trees are usually chosen from healthy parent stock that is inherently resilient to threats such as unfavourable weather conditions, disease, and damage from nature’s elements. Most tree nurseries grow trees from seeds or propagation. Regardless of the planting method, you are guaranteed a higher survival rate from choosing quality trees from a reputable tree nursery than planting bare seeds. Choosing quality trees from a trustworthy tree nursery provides you with great value and the best return on investment.

You need to consider 4 primary factors when choosing quality trees at a tree nursery:

  1. Evaluate your site conditions

Knowing your environment is imperative. Certain trees excel in certain climates. It’s always best to opt for indigenous trees since they tend to prosper in their natural environment. It is highly recommended that you discuss your tree options with the tree nursery staff, you will need to inform them of your location, and they can advise you on which trees are suitable for that climate. You will also need to inform the tree nursery staff of the conditions of your landscaping area. It’s best to do a site analysis that takes the following elements into consideration:

  • Soil conditions especially drainage and compaction
  • Water supply 
  • Sun pattern and wind direction
  • Light availability
  • Landscaping space and distance from obstructions
  • Interference with canopy and root structure
  • Property restrictions
  • Aesthetics i.e., complementing existing landscape and architecture

2. Be specific about your tree’s purpose or function

Planting a tree is relatively easy but deciding what the function of the tree should be can be complicated. If you know what the purpose and function of the tree is, you will have long-term positive results. However, planting trees for the wrong reasons can lead money and time wastage, as well as post-purchase dissonance. In the worst scenario the trees won’t grow to their full potential and die. 

The two main types of trees are deciduous and evergreen trees. Evergreen trees are relatively easier to grow and maintain. Evergreen trees don’t change from season to season, while deciduous trees shed leaves in Autumn and regrow their leaves in Spring. Deciduous trees tend to grow slower and smaller than evergreen trees. Choosing evergreen trees or deciduous trees should be dependent on the tree’s purpose and function especially when it reaches full maturity. You need to consider the following goals:

  • Landscaping
  • Growing edibles
  • Providing summer shade 
  • Providing screening for privacy and security
  • Making a windbreak or establishing property lines
  • Creating a habitat for wildlife

3. Consider the size and shape of the trees when they reach maturity

The trees you select will become an important addition to your property. This is why determining the mature size and shape of your trees is very crucial. The trees’ size, height and canopy should complement the trees’ purpose and function when it reaches maturity. Mature robust and stocky trees require more space than tree species that grow tall and remain slender. The tree’s size and shape will have an influence on maintenance. This is why it’s imperative to consider how the tree will look decades later and what maintenance work it will require. The common challenges include the shedding of leaves, pruning and the obstruction of structures, cables and other trees. It’s highly recommended that you have knowledge of your site conditions before choosing trees from a tree nursery. 

4. The Trees’ health

Once you have a vision of the trees’ purpose and function as well as the conditions that you will plant the trees, it’s useful to know how to identify healthy trees. The overall health of the trees is dependent on the tree nursery’s practices. Healthy trees are identifiable by their general appearance and have the following traits:

  • Well-developed roots, stems and leaves
  • Well-distributed branches that are spaced between 20cm to 30cm apart
  • Wide angles in the crotch area between branches and trunk
  • Vertical stem located at the top of the trunk
  • Single top leaders, try to avoid multiple leaders and trunks
  • Trunks that taper uniformly
  • Evenly rotated branches around the trunk
  • No signs of brown, curly leaves or needles due to malnutrition
  • No scarring on the trunk
  • No blotching or holes on leaves due to infestation
  • Limited number of dead twigs and branches
  • Wide angles in the crotch area between trunk and branches

Taking the following 4 factors into consideration will provide you with the best guidelines for choosing the best trees from a tree nursery. Just Trees is an award-winning tree nursery with years of experience and have supplied trees to some of the best landscape projects in South Africa. If you are embarking on a landscape project, visit www.justtrees.co.za and we’ll help you select the best trees for your project. 

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