HOW TO PICK A TREE
May 06, 2019
Picking a good tree at a garden centre or a nursery can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you pick a tree that looks great, establishes quickly and lasts for generations.
For a long time we struggled to find the balance between quantity of trees (growing as many trees as fast as possible) and quality of trees (growing good, healthy trees that live longer and establish quicker). What we’ve found is that the perks of planting with quality in mind makes the extra effort worth it. One of the biggest benefits for us is that it makes it easy to pick a good tree for our customers.
So how do you pick a good tree? This is what we look for:
Because we’re a wholesale nursery we select trees in bulk. If choosing multiple trees for a project, look for a uniform crop. Trees for the same project should be similar shape and height and the best bet is selecting trees grown in the same crop. If you’re selecting a single tree… read on for a few tell tale signs of a healthy and well structured tree.
A STRONG, CENTRAL LEADER
The leader is the tallest portion of the trunk. It should extend past the tree’s highest branches in a clear and noticeable way. This type of leader contributes to a beautiful ‘V-like’ crown in maturity.
Take a look at Dr. Ed Gilman’s perspective on structural pruning for more insight into how to achieve a distinct leader through pruning.
This is the relationship between the size of the branch and tree trunk. A 50% ratio is ideal. Any larger and the tree will begin to redirect growth from the leader into the branch. We don’t want this because large branches weaken the structure and the integrity of a mature tree. This is fixable during the early pruning stage.
Make sure there is no mechanical damage, pests, or disease affecting the tree. Use our Reference Guide to determine the hardiness of a tree species for the climate that you live in. Taking care to plant trees in their appropriate zones will help avoid tree failure in harsh winters. Pests and disease can be spotted with a careful visual examination of the leaves and trunk. Apps like the BugFinder app can be a useful tool for identifying pests. If you spot something you’re not sure about, be sure to point it out to whoever’s in charge of pests on the property!
If all those boxes are checked you’ve found yourself a beautiful looking tree! Not only is this tree going to look better, but it will perform better. And you know what that means? You’ve picked a tree that will last you for generations.
Check out our tutorial on picking trees here: