Many people believe trees mean ruined service pipes, houses uprooted and constant work, but by following our tips you can easily beautify your garden and help the planet at the same time.
Things to consider
- When choosing a tree consider your surroundings, your soil quality, and the size that the tree will eventually grow to be.
- Consult your local nursery, or a professional who is familiar with your area, when deciding what sort to buy. Have a look to see which varieties are growing healthily in your area, and which of these you prefer.
- Work out what job you want the tree to perform. Whether it's for shade, a screen or boundary, instant beautification, or just doing your bit to contribute to the world's oxygen supply, will affect the type of tree you choose.
- Consider the potential size, form and shade properties of a tree before you buy. This means whether the tree will be tall and narrow or broad and spreading, and whether its shade will be deep or dappled.
- Consider the leaf drop factor. Even evergreen trees require some rake-work. If you plant deciduous trees on the northern side of your house you benefit from the shade in summer and when they shed their leaves they let the sun through in winter, which is one of the fundamental principles behind passive solar design.
- We've all heard tales of tree roots trashing house pipes but that mainly happens in older houses with older clay pipes. The modern PVC pipes are much more resilient.
- If you want a tree simply to beautify your garden, choose once that produces a fruit or flower, or both. These can be slightly more exotic, and native varieties will also lure bird and wildlife.
- Avoid trees with aggressive root systems like willows in small gardens, and trees like eucalyptus can drop their branches so are not the best choice near an entertainment area.
- Evergreens are a good choice if your aim is to screen or block an unattractive view. Deciduous trees can be better if their purpose is to add colour to the garden, as their leaves will change colour seasonally.
- The cost of a tree depends on its size. A mature tree can cost as much as $10-12,000. You get instant results and if you use professionals you can be almost guaranteed a healthy tree that has been nurtured and looked after properly throughout its adolescence. A super advanced tree is probably the most popular option. They're much cheaper and are sufficiently established for you not to worry about them dying easily. A sapling is the cheapest option, but they do require a lot of nurturing, fertilising and looking after.
- The best reason to plant a tree is for the joy they bring to any back yard. The fresh air they provide and the visual stimulation they contribute to any view is well worth any financial cost or hard labour.
Equipment and Suppliers
Royal Botanic Gardens
The Domain, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9231 8004