In the garden
Choosing the right tree
Fall is the ideal time to plant a new tree. The right tree planted in the right place on your property can give you years of pleasure and enhance your property’s value should you decide to sell your home. The key is to make sure you choose the right tree for the place you want to plant.
“Begin with a site analysis,” says Henrico Extension Agent Lisa Sanderson. “The principles are much the same for any landscape design project.”
Start with the soil. It’s helpful to know the pH of your soil, so you may want to do a soil test. Remember that Henrico residents can get two free soil tests each year. Soil test kits are available at Henrico public libraries and at the Extension Office.
Look, too, at the texture of your soil. Is it clayey, loamy, or sandy? Is it compacted? And how well does it drain?
“You need to know what you’re dealing with,” says Sanderson. “Some trees like a tupelo can tolerate poor drainage, and some can’t.”
The climate in our area is another consideration. Henrico is in USDA Hardiness Zone 7 where the average extreme minimum temperature is 0-10 degrees Fahrenheit and in American Horticultural Society Heat Zone 7 where the temperature exceeds 86 degrees Fahrenheit from 60 to 90 days each year.
“Lots of trees will do really well in our area,” says Sanderson, “but some do better with our climate than others. River Birch, for example, seems to do better than White Birch in our climate.” Sunlight is another important factor. Not all trees do well in bright sun. Local favorites such as dogwoods, red buds, and sourwoods usually prefer a shadier location near the edges of forests or other stands of trees.
“It never fails,” says Sanderson. “People love dogwoods, and they plant them right in the middle of their yards where they get full sun and then wonder why they don’t do well.”
Trees need about an inch of water each week during the first year “establishment period,” so making sure you have access to water either with an existing irrigation system or a convenient water hose can save a lot of work.
And, of course, trees grow so you need to have enough space not only for the size of the tree today but to accommodate how large it will be in a decade. If you’re putting your tree near existing trees, you’ll also need to consider how large those trees are going to get, and make sure you have enough space to accommodate the needs of all the trees in your yard.
The other trees in the area that are doing well can serve as “indicator plants” to help you assess the conditions in your yard and choose a tree that will do well there.
Good checklists for accessing your site are available online and the Virginia Cooperative Extension has an excellent publication, “Problem-free Trees for Virginia Landscapes” on it’s website, http://www.ext.vt.edu to he,lp you choose the trees that best suit the space you have to plant. And you can call Lisa Sanderson at the Henrico Extension Office at 501-5160.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.
Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.
Growlers to Go has opened its second area location – in Short Pump, next to Trader Joe's.
Unlike the flagship store on the Boulevard in Richmond, this location is equipped with a Tasting Room, offering customers the opportunity to drink pints or tasting wheels as well as order snacks on premises. > Read more.
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