published Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Five tips on Planting trees

It’s planting season — not just for vegetables and flowers but also for trees, said Kim Bonastia with Signal Mountain Nursery.

But you’ve got to do your homework before purchasing a tree, she said. Homeowners need to know what kind of trees will grow best in their landscape.

She offers these tips.


1 How much sun do you get? Most flowering trees need at least half a day of sunlight to flower well. Serviceberry (Amelanchier), for example, is a native tree that grows in full sun to light shade. It has white flowers in spring, followed by red fruit in June. The fruit is a favorite for birds. The bark is smooth gray and attractive in winter.

2 How is your soil? Your tree will survive better if you have fertile, well-drained soil. Sandy soils and clay soils are very difficult because they can have moisture problems. White fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) is a native tree with showy white flowers in spring. It can take soil from somewhat dry to somewhat moist. Its leaves are yellow in fall.

3 How big can the tree get in this particular spot? You want your tree to grow to its potential without getting too large and having to cut it back. A plant may not live up to its potential if the place you are putting it lacks proper water, light and nutrients. Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is still a favorite. Its color can be white, pink, lavender or red in summer. Some varieties have bark that exfoliates beautifully. Let this tree grow in its natural shape, and you will enjoy it for a long time.

4 Do all trees need to be pruned? Some trees bloom on new wood, others on old. If you prune at the wrong time, you can cut off your blooms.

5 What are some other trees that grow well in our area? Redbud (Cericis canadensis), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) and Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus) are popular options.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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