Before Arbor Day rolls around (April 27) and you’re wondering where to plant that new tree, consider some advice from local experts so that planting is appreciated, rather than regretted, down the line.
Jason Todd, designer, LANDSCAPE SAINT LOUIS
▲ Before planting, think about what the function of the tree will be. Is it for shade? Is it ornamental? Is it something you want to see out of a window? It is framing the house or framing a view? Or is it to block a view?
▲ A tree can accentuate the architectural elements of a house and also help bring the house into scale. With a smaller lot, go taller according to square footage in order to keep the house within the scale of the yard and the landscape.
▲ For a backyard and a patio, select a tree that is going to provide a canopy without being too troublesome. Also, make sure the tree doesn’t have shallow roots that could possibly damage the patio.
▲ One shade tree that is really great for the St. Louis area is Fall Fiesta sugar maple, which has a nice kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and yellows in the fall, but it also can take the heat of a St. Louis summer.
▲ With the flowering varieties, I love the serviceberry— they have wonderful white spring flowers and a summer fruit that attracts birds, but its fall color is spectacular with a mixture of reds and oranges.
Tim Gamma, master arborist, GAMMA TREE EXPERTS
▲ Position trees to shade the house during the warmer months. Plant a deciduous tree, or trees, on the west and southwest sides of your property so the shade pattern will fall over the house and patio in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest—that’s going to provide a lot of relief. The deciduous tree will then drop its leaves in the winter, allowing the sun to warm the home.
▲ Position evergreens, like spruces, pines and American hollies, on the north or northwest side of the property to protect from prevailing winter winds.
▲ For curb appeal, plant a full shade tree along with some nicely placed ornamental trees, like a dogwood, redbud tree or Japanese maple.
▲ Oaks are a go-to tree for a solid, long-life tree. Consider these native species: chinkapin, bur, swam white, white and the shumard (a type of red oak). Of native ornamental trees, the white dogwood is the most common in Missouri—the pink can be a native tree, and redbuds are another native tree that does well.
Jim Graeler, owner/designer/horticulturalist, CHESTERFIELD VALLEY NURSERY
▲ When planning a tree in the front of a home, consider where the tallest parts of the house are and how big a tree is going to get. Bigger shade trees need to be more out in the middle of the yard.
▲ In landscape design, you want to soften the strong corners. Ornamental or dwarf trees, such as dogwoods, Japanese maples and white fringe trees, are nice to soften corners and create interest in the landscape area.
▲ You can use trees to frame and draw attention to certain areas of your yard.
▲ From a hardiness standpoint, St. Louis is a zone 6, so you need to pick out a tree that can withstand the St. Louis heat and be able to thrive. From the day you plant a tree, you want it to look better each and every year, so planting trees that are indigenous to the state and do well in the Missouri climate is a very important factor.