Many of my clients and friends ask me what type of tree I recommend they plant in their yards.  At first, my mind goes into overload because of all the great choices out there.  I love trees!  Who doesn’t?  I loved climbing them when I was a kid.  I appreciate their shade on a hot day at work, but most of all, I appreciate the beauty they add to one’s home, and collectively, to one’s street.  The beauty of all towns and cities is enhanced when the streets are lined with trees. The north end of Orillia is prime example of this and those trees add to the real estate value of all the homes in the neighbourhood.

So, let’s begin with some questions. Coniferous or Deciduous? Or in laymen terms: Evergreen or trees with leaves?  Let’s assume we are talking about the front yard of an average city lot. Regarding evergreens: That cute little Blue Spruce that you just purchased at your local Garden Centre is going to reach a diameter of 25-30 ft. and take over the whole front yard.  In addition, it adds very little aesthetic value to the neighbourhood when compared to what a deciduous tree offers.  A good example of a street lined with conifers is Hurlwood Ave. (the road leading to Hawk Ridge Golf Course off Burnside line at Brodie Dr. near the Orillia Square Mall). Conifers running along the street boulevard give the viewer a feeling of being squeezed (pictured above), like having large walls on either side of you.  Deciduous trees like Maples invite the viewer in, without obstruction, and provide a canopy which provide a feeling of comfort to the subconscious.  So, unless you have a very large front yard, it’s a NO to conifers.

My next question is: Where is it to be planted on the front yard?  If it’s on the boulevard, a larger hardwood species such as Maple, Oak, or Locust are preferable since they reach an ultimate height of 50ft. or more.  Most cities, including Orillia, have subsidies available to supply and install these trees.  It is my opinion that the larger trees would be the better choice over mid-size trees, such as Crab Apples.  Mid-size trees should be used for the front lawn (15-30ft. in ht.) where their canopies won’t have to be pruned to prevent obstruction of driver views and possible contact with vehicles.

The placement of the tree is important.  Most often I choose to place it on the side opposite the driveway – about 2/3’s over and closer to the sidewalk, but not on city property.  This location allows the front door to remain the focal point and adds balance to the ‘heaviness’ of the driveway and garage, although one has to keep in mind any overhead wires and neighbouring trees.

Next month I will discuss species choices as well as how and when to plant.  The planet needs more trees so let’s all help her out and plant one (or more) this spring!