Garden Tip: Plant Your Trees in the Fall

Posted on: October 2, 2012

Before we forget how hot it was this summer and how precious shade was, let’s talk trees. Is it time to consider planting trees for shade or privacy? I love to plant trees, especially if I am starting out with a bigger specimen……….in the fall.

If you are looking to prioritize what plants to buy first in your design, consider planting one large specimen tree. A big sized tree planted first will make a big impact.  Protect your investment by planting in the fall when winters cooler temperatures and rains will establish the roots.  Have a professional  plant it.  The root ball of this tree at time of planting easily weighed 500 lbs.

Privacy landscape design in Woodstock neighborhood for side yardBig Tree Planted in Woodstock Neighborhood

Paul and Leah live in the Woodstock neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.  They hired Design in a Day 5 years ago. (2007)  We planted a 6″ caliper shade tree. (6 inches through the trunk at 4 inches above the ground).  We selected a big tree so we would have shade on the deck sooner rather than later for their growing family to enjoy.

Japanese Elm Zelkova serratta ‘Wireless’

One of my favorite shade trees is a Japanese elm tree- Zelkova serratta ‘Wireless’.  It’s called “Wireless” because it grows very wide (36′) but it fits under secondary power lines at 24 feet tall.  Because it has strong wood, it is the perfect shade tree for near the house because it’s less likely to suffer broken limbs that might damage your roof. It’s also a popular street tree for extra wide parking strips.

‘Wireless’ also has great fall color, early leaf drop and is a low water needs tree.  The leaf canopy is thick enough for shade but allows dappled sun through for the lawn.  What more could we ask for?

Other trees we selected were Carpinus betulus ‘Franz Fontaine’ (a columnar “skinny” hornbeam) and semi dwarf Magnolia Grandiflora ‘Little Gem’.  These trees were purchased at typical homeowner DIY sizes, 1.5 inch caliper and maybe 8′ tall for the hornbeam and a ten gallon pot for the evergreen magnolia which was about 5′ tall.

Big Tree Helps Re-sale

Paul and Leah sold their home two years later.  The internet sales photos showed a backyard ready for fun and a small  significant shade tree for their south facing deck.

I drove by this landscape 9 years later and took photos.  Check it out.

See these trees 9 years later.