Trees play an integral part to home landscaping. While flowering plants and dramatic foliage often provide the most visual impact, trees are also used as decorative components, particularly those that flower and have good fall leaf color. Perhaps most importantly, they also serve practical functions by providing shade, screening and protection from wind. Choose species that will enhance, rather than overwhelm, your landscape in order to get the best bang for your buck.
Fruit and Nuts
You can save money and enhance your diet by growing trees in your landscape that produce fruit and nuts. Buy young trees that are about two years old; keep their roots moist and plant them in ragged deep holes twice as large as the root ball and where the soil drains well. Prune each fruit tree so that three to five strong scaffold branches are left to promote vigorous growth. Plant more than one tree to ensure proper pollination. Keep the areas around the tree bases free of weeds and monitor the trees for diseases and pests.
Another idea is to plant certain ornamental trees closer to your home to draw visitors to the entrance. Cultivate a Japanese Maple for its lacy, star-shaped leaves that turn bright red in the fall and for its branching form that remains attractive in winter. Or, you can choose a weeping cherry tree for its light-pink spring flowers and graceful, curved branches that reach toward the ground. Or, try growing a flowering dogwood, which is a midsized tree with pink, white or cream-colored flowers. Decorate a large front yard with a Tolleson's weeping juniper that grows up to 30 feet tall and has branches that arch down like a willow.
Rural landscapes, particularly those located in flat, windy areas, benefit from tree lines that serve as windbreaks. According to the University of Missouri, research has indicated windbreaks save up to 40 percent of home heating energy. They can also block snow from drifting around a home, barn and other outbuildings and adjacent crop fields. Choose strong, flexible trees that are hardy to your area, such as coniferous varieties, and plant them where they will protect against prevailing wind. Vary the tree varieties so they will provide foliage density at different heights over the years as they mature.
Shade trees, if they survive, are some of the longest-lasting landscape investments. Select varieties that won't overwhelm your landscape or cause damage with their canopy or root growth. Choose species that are not susceptible to wind damage--such as oaks, maples and birches--and keep in mind the amount of leaves, seeds and fruit they will drop. Buy healthy specimens that are 8 to 10 feet tall and that are balled, covered in burlap or growing in containers.