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 04/29/2016
Every week, another child is diagnosed with cancer in Central Virginia. Last summer, six-year-old Caroline Morris was one of them.
Diagnosed in June 2015 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer, Morris has been receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) ever since.
“It’s not my hair that makes my beauty,” said Morris, who lost her hair as a chemotherapy side effect, “it’s my heart.” > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 04/25/2016
The sign up period for the Richmond Community Solar Co-op will close on April 30. Nearly 150 homeowners and businesses have joined the group to save money and make going solar easier. The group has started installations and is working with VA SUN to learn about solar technology and the process of going solar.
“If you’ve ever thought about going solar, this is a great opportunity to do so,” said Sekar Veerappan Co-op member and the group’s first installation. “Working with the group helps members learn about going solar and make an informed decision.” > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
- More News
Apr. 21, 2016Click here to read the print edition.
- More Entertainment
- More Obituaries
- More Community
- More Opinions
- More Sports
CalendarThe 2016 Greater Richmond Holistic Expo, the first large-scale holistic expo in nearly two decades, will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Richmond Raceway Complex. Nourish… Full text