How to Choose the Best Trees for Your Yard

If you have open space and you’re looking to enhance your property, we’d argue that there’s no better way to do so than by planting new trees. Yet, with roughly 73,000 known species to choose from, deciding on the right tree can be a little daunting. Here, we help you narrow down your options to find the right one in just a few steps.

Stay in the Zone

First and foremost, you’ll want to consider which tree species can not only survive in your location, but will actually thrive. Your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone is a great place to start. This will help you pinpoint which species are best-suited to reach their potential based on factors like weather patterns and soil in your region.

Georgia has four zones, along with specific tree species that perform best in each:

  • 7b: Green Giant arborvitae, Murray cypress, and white dogwoods
  • 8 (a and b): Pine trees, juniper trees, sassafras, weeping willows, and dogwoods
  • 9a: American sycamore, silver maple, sassafras, and peach trees

Know Your Native Species

After narrowing things down based on your zone, you can go a step further by considering native tree species. A tree that’s native to your area will already have everything it needs to do well in its environment. Native species also tend to produce more fruit, flowers, or overall healthy growth. For Georgia, popular native varieties include magnolias, red maples, cherry trees, dogwoods, Southern magnolias, and American hollies.

Think About Placement

With your shortened list, you can now start weighing where and what you’ll be planting. For starters, steer clear of any obstructions, like utility lines, sidewalks, driveways, and nearby structures. Remember: root systems can spread as wide as a tree’s canopy!

Next, think about what you’re hoping to achieve in your selected planting zone. Here are some common goals when considering the best trees for yards in residential areas.

  • Privacy: Arborvitaes, pine, and spruce trees are conifers known for their ability to provide privacy. Creating a screen-like effect, they’re well-suited for sectioning off clearings between two yards. Just be sure to keep your trees well away from any property lines — neighbor disputes are not the goal here!
  • Shade: Situating trees near the southwest corner of your house will offer the most shade on summer days. You’ll want to select a species that produces an ample canopy as it matures. Oaks and maples are known for throwing shade (in a good way).
  • Aesthetics: If your only goal is to beautify your property, there are dozens of varieties to choose from. Ornamental trees produce stunning blooms in the spring and eye-catching autumn leaves. The flowering dogwood is a standout option, with spring blossoms, bountiful summer leaves, and red fall foliage.

Consider Upkeep

A final but important consideration for your tree selection is maintenance, and what you can realistically keep up with. Most species will require some tree pruning to encourage healthy growth and shaping as they mature, while others may call for more frequent tree trimming and attention. While there’s no argument that willow trees are gorgeous, for instance, they need a lot of water to grow, and their aggressive root system can spell trouble for landscapers. Fruit-bearing trees may also require more pruning, since they can draw quite a crowd of pests when left unattended. In general, arborvitaes, Japanese maples, and American hollies are solid choices for hassle-free trees.

Choose the Best Trees for Your Yard With Premier Tree Solutions

Whether you’re looking for professional advice for planting new trees, or the ones you already have need some maintenance, Premier Tree Solutions can help. Set up an appointment with our team by calling (404) 252-6448, or request a consultation online.

Tree Care Checklist: How to Maintain Your Trees in Winter

Trees and winter weather can pair well together, making for a postcard-perfect backdrop on your own front lawn. But while icicles and snow-covered branches may look pretty, the season can bring trouble for your trees, too. To keep your trees healthy through this winter and beyond, here are some winter tree care basics to bear in mind.

How Can Winter Damage Trees?

Trees can experience several types of winter-related trauma, but the extent of the damage depends on their species, location and conditions, and the timing of weather extremes. While low temperatures can cause damage on their own, more often tree damage is caused by temperature fluctuation, not the frost itself. Unfortunately, as weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable, our trees are becoming more vulnerable to trauma caused by quick sequences of hot- and-cold extremes.

For one, rapidly plummeting temperatures can cause frost cracks. The freeze/thaw cycle can also lead to sunscald, which occurs when a plant freezes at night and is then exposed to warm air and sunlight during the day. Frost alone can also damage certain tree and shrub species that are unable to withstand winter freezes. Finally, dry winter conditions can hinder tree health due to reduced moisture levels in the soil.

Here’s a bit of good news: In most cases, snow isn’t damaging to your trees. In fact, it can be a natural insulator that protects them against the stress of freeze/thaw cycles. But heavy snow accumulation  — and ice — can still snap vulnerable branches.

Physical Signs of Tree Stress: A Checklist

If you’re concerned about winter trauma affecting your trees, here’s a checklist of warning signs to watch for.

Vertical Cracks

Look for vertical cracks in the trunk on the side of the tree facing the sun (the south or southwest side). This is a telltale sign of sunscald or frost cracks, caused by rapid temperature changes.

Bark Discoloration

In addition to visible cracks, sunscald can result in bark discoloration. Avocado, citrus, and fig trees are among the species most susceptible to this condition.

Browning Tips or Needles

The needles or tips of trees can brown in a phenomenon known as winterburn. Often, it’s caused by a combination of winter weather factors, including loss of water, high winds, and rapid temperature drops.

How to Address Winter Tree Damage

The best approach to take when it comes to winter tree damage is a preventive one. This means enlisting the help of our winter tree services before bad weather approaches. We’ll professionally prune your trees in the winter months, when growth is dormant so the risk of tree injury is minimal. This will also help to offset the stress of varying temperatures. Plus, by removing any at-risk branches at this time, we’ll help prevent property damage during or after a winter storm.

Aside from scheduling winter tree services, you can protect your trees against harsh winter conditions by mulching around their bases. Mulch is a great insulator that can help protect their roots while also retaining moisture. But if you have any young trees, fragile shrubs, or species that are vulnerable to frost (like citrus), consider going a step further by laying a breathable fabric over top to protect them against freezing conditions.

Schedule Tree Maintenance With Premier Tree Solutions

If you’ve already noticed signs of winter tree damage, our experts can help there, too. With a team of certified arborists, we excel not only in tree removal, but also tree care and maintenance. Schedule your winter tree services by calling 404.252.6448, or send us a message here.