What to Consider Before You Plant
Aside from selecting a tree that fits the site, you need to consider soil conditions, climate, desired impacts, diversity and age class — not to mention maintenance needs and budgets. Check out this guide to site assessment and species selection prepared by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Science. It’s Florida-specific but it covers ever step you’ll need to take.
Look up, and down. Don’t neglect underground conditions as well as the above-ground factors that influence tree growth and survival.
- Hardiness zone
- Other trees
- Overhead wires, lights and signs
- Underground utilities
- Adjacent buildings
- Rooting space
- Soil volume, composition and depth
|Distance from wires||Tree size at maturity|
|0-6 feet||Planting is not recommended unless trees are less than 25 feet tall.|
|6-40 feet||Height should be 10 feet shorter than wire, or canopy diameter should be less than twice the distance to the wire.|
|More than 40 feet||Any tree can be planted.|
Selecting the Right Tree Species
A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but not just any tree. Your state forestry agency or municipal arborist can identify trees that meet your needs, and suit your community’s climate.
Many communities specify native and/or non-invasive trees for public projects, and create incentives [or penalties] to encourage private owners to do the same.
Do it Yourself — Online
Designed to help urban foresters, stormwater professionals, landscape architects and property owners select the most appropriate tree species use in their area. Enter location data, desired tree height and the environmental benefits most important to you, and i-Tree Species will suggest best species for you to consider. Users enter their location, the desired height of the tree, and what environmental benefits are most important to them. I-Tree provides a list that includes potential risks from pests and disease.
Or check out SelecTree, a California-centric tree selection tool that allows users to sort based on site, desired impact and species preference.