If you’re considering planting some new trees in your lawn, you’ll need to be considerate in choosing the species that you’re planting. There are a number of factors that can lead your trees to be a success, or start them down the road to failure. Paying attention to these factors and considering them when making the choice can provide for a stable ecosystem – ignoring them, however, can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden, and even envelop your neighbors and other parts of the local ecosystem.
The most common cause of planted trees dying off is planting the wrong tree in the wrong location. Planting a tree outside of its hardiness zone can open it to stress and weakness over the cool season, making it more susceptible to diseases. Some trees will simply die off, other may linger while slowly fading away.
Even if you choose a tree that is appropriate for the hardiness zone you live in, you’ll need to make sure you pick the right type for the local ecosystem, and even for the particular area of you land you might want to plant it on. If the soil is poorly composed, chemically imbalanced, or not solid enough to support a tree, it can cause problems as time goes by. It may even allow the tree to develop, but can cause issue during poor weather – the states in the northern half of the county are filled with folks who planted trees in poor soil only to have nasty weather bring them crashing down because of the lack of anchoring.
If all your neighbors have the same trees, it doesn’t mean you should follow their lead. Having an area made up of only one or two different trees produces a vulnerable ecosystem. If disease or pests that concentrate on a certain type of tree strike an area that has only planted that type of tree, it can destroy the entire ecosystem in a matter of months. However, if a disease such as Sapstreak strikes an area where sugar maples only make up 20% of the trees, it only has the potential to kill off 20% of the trees in the area.
Avoiding trees that are considered invasive is a key point, as invasive plants will take over the area and push out native trees. Norway maples, smooth buckthorn, and a number of others are considered to be invasive. Check with your state government’s department of conservation or with the U.S. forest service to see what may be an invasive species for your area. Not all trees are considered invasive across the United States – for instance, the black locust is considered a native plant in areas such as Georgia, but is an invasive plant in the northern states.
It’s good to see insects on a tree – in fact, some trees are meant to attract and harbor certain insects. However, you need to know the difference between an insect, and a pest. Pests will attack, infest, and destroy trees. This includes bugs such as the emerald ash borer, a pest that attacks ash trees across the United States. Know the types of bugs that may infest the tree you plant, and know how to control them. Also consider that, if there are similar trees around, a pest can jump from one to another, and wipe out entire stands over a breeding season.
Taking these factors into account before adding another tree to your property can help you to avoid issues in years to come. Remember that adding plants to an ecosystem is not something to take lightly, and adding the wrong plant or tree can upset the local ecosystem quickly. Thinking ahead will ensure that you retain healthy plants and trees for years to come, and a healthy local ecosystem. Beyond this guide, asking around at a local nursery or consulting with neighbors may help you make the right choice.