Selecting a tree for your yard is a very important task. There are many things to consider when selecting a tree. Certain trees may not be able to grow in your area. For example, if you live in the extreme southern U.S., palm trees might be a great option, but deciduous trees won't fare so well. In the northern U.S., palm trees are impossible to grow, but you can plant conifers or deciduous trees. Other things to take into consideration are a tree's fruit or seeds, its final mature height and its average lifespan.
Find out what growing zone you are in. Included in the resources section of this article is a website that will tell you what growing zone you are in from your inputted ZIP code.
Look carefully at the spot where you want to plant your tree. Check for overhead obstructions like power or cable wires. Measure the distance from other objects and trees. Think carefully about how big you want your tree to be once it's mature.
Decide which type of tree you want. Conifers are evergreen and will keep their foliage in the winter. These provide excellent privacy screens as well as wind screens, but they don't provide good shade canopies. Deciduous trees provide excellent shade canopies, but they lose their leaves in the winter and do not provide much privacy screening. Trees that bear fruits and nuts make excellent sources of food when properly pruned and cared for, but they can be messy if not harvested. In southern climates, palm trees can lend a "tropical paradise" feel.
Visit a nursery or garden center. During the spring you'll see the best selection of available trees. Read all the tags carefully to learn pertinent information about the tree, including its growing zones, watering and sunlight requirements and the mature height of the tree.
Purchase the tree that will best suit your needs. Remember that you may be forming a lifelong partnership with this tree, so the decision should not be taken lightly.