Fontainbleu State Park, Covington LA Live Oak Tree
Can you see why we all love shade trees? We even call a forest a cathedral because of the awe a forest of trees can inspire. A landscape is not complete without trees. We cannot live without trees because they give off oxygen so we can breathe. Luckily we can pick out the trees we love best and have them in our own yards.
In general, trees are sent to a nursery as large B and B trees. That means balled and wrapped in burlap. The tree is dug up, balled, wrapped and tied with twine for delivery or pick up. When you buy a B and B tree, check to be sure the ball (roots of the tree) is at least 10 times the diameter of the tree. Measure 6" up to check the correct sizes of large B and B large trees. So if the tree is 6” around, the ball must be 60” or 5’. That’s a lot of tree root and it’s important.
Occasionally you can transport large B and B trees yourself, but most of the time, you will want installers with a large truck and a tree dolly. They can plant your tree properly and give it the best chance of a healthy life. That means digging a hole the same depth as the tree is now and twice as wide. That’s a 10’ wide hole. Are you sure you don’t want to hire somebody? The best time to plant a tree is in the cool weather of fall, so the tree can develop healthy roots before it needs energy to grow leaves.
We really want to have the tree in the ground today and enjoy shade by the weekend. Sadly, trees take a bit longer than that to provide wanted shade. Often several years have to pass before we can sit in a lawn chair, sip our lemonade and enjoy the shade.
Some good choices for shade trees are Ash trees. The Green Ash, Pop Ash and White Ash. Each of these is a great specimen in the landscape and will provide shade.
Baseball bats are made of ash so obviously they are a sturdy tree and will give you years of enjoyment.
Another great shade tree is a Japanese White Birch. It's white bark stands out in contrast to other trees. One of the most popular trees, be sure to order early before the supply is depleted. The River Birch is another tree that is enjoyed for both its bark and shade. The leaves turn bright yellow in the fall and is spectacular.
We all love Red Maple trees. The red leaf color delights us in the fall. During the rest of the year, we love this leafy tree. There are some 200 varieties of Maple Trees, so you can choose one that provides maple syrup if you wish.
Flowering trees are always a favorite in the landscape. Everyone loves the scent of Magnolias, Dogwoods, or Flowering Cherries. The Redbud blooms early in the southern states and blooms before it leafs out. The entire tree is covered in blooms without a leaf to be seen. It's a dramatic addition to the landscape. Crepe Myrtle trees are known as street trees, the ones you see next to roads or in cities because they are so hardy nothing can hurt them. You can't miss with flowering trees.
Evergreen trees do not lose their leaves in the winter, hence the name evergreen. Evergreen trees really do lose their leaves. They just don't do it all at once in the winter. As their leaves age, they drop, so the tree looks green all year round
The Thuja Green Giant is most desired as a privacy plant because it grows so fast. It can be used a hedge for good reason. Many of the hollies are great evergreens. The Nellie R. Stevens is a good choice for an evergreen because it has a great pyramidal shape and resists pest damage. A Mystic Ice Deodar Cedar is yet another great choice for the landscape. Use it as a specimen plant as well rather than a hedge or windbreak.
We all have a love/hate relationship with fast growing trees. Many of them grow fast and die young. A fast grower means you may be able to sit under it in five to six years, figuring a growth rate of 1 - 2 feet a year.
Some exceptions are available however. Look for a Northern Red Oak. They are pest resistant and do not succumb to most of the fast growing tree problems.
The Freeman Maple is another fast grower. It can grow to 75 or 80 feet, but provide plenty of room for it as it can reach 45 - 50 feet wide.
The Tulip Tree is another great fast growing tree. It grows 75- 90 feet high by 40-50 feet wide and often hides a brilliant chartreuse flower in spring time.
Regardless of what trees you choose, you will love them, as will your children and their children. The earth will love you as well.