Thursday, July 16, 2009

Landscape tip of the day (or week, or month....)

Ok, enough gushing about the cattle, heres something for the homeowner who has a landscape (unlike myself....) around their home. Well, after designing all these fabulous estates and homes, the last thing (honestly) I feel like doing is coming home and, you guessed it, landscaping! I am partial to planting trees, however, and have planted well over 100 of them so far on our property since moving here 8 years ago, so, at least we have shade around our house now.
Which leads me off in another direction entirely than what I had planned on writing about....shade tree placement!!
Folks, get your shade trees planted asap when you buy your home if they are not already there!! Pines, conifers, evergreens are nice, and do serve a purpose, but most people waste their time with these because they are cheap to buy (when small) and easy to plant, but they do not do the job of summer air conditioning and allowing winter radiant heat like a decidious tree will.
Watch your sun patterns for a summer season, where is it hottest at what time of the day? This is where you will need to correctly place a deciduous shade tree. Late afternoons are the hottest, morning sun is usually welcome. Do you have an outdoor living area? Nothing will drive folks away from a patio or deck like the sweltering afternoon sun. Do you have shade there for afternoon entertaining? How about that hot afternoon sun beating on your house? The sun sure feels good in the winter, but it can be brutal in the summer. And folks, please don't stick your trees so far away from your house that the shade will never be cast where you will use it. Take a look at old farm houses and older homes, they have plenty of shade trees quite close to the houses, right where they will actually do some good. Know the mature spread of the tree you are planting, and plant it close to the house. ( Just close enough that the mature branches may someday possibly touch the house, maybe). Don't worry about it breaking up your foundation, etc, by that time (if it ever even happens) you will not be around to deal with it (well, its true!!)
One more thing, and its a pet peave for me: plant some shade where you park your car!! Nothing is worse than baking your car all summer long on a nice hot driveway! Give it some thought, and I dont mean some sticky sappy pine tree, or messy crabapple, a nice shade tree!
Got kids? A play area? First,and I see this all the time and it drives me crazy.... don't stick the swingset- playset in the back 40; kids want and need to be near the house and mom....nobody is gonna hoof it all the way to some forgotton back corner of the yard to play and bake! Near the house and in the shade of course (no shade? plant some!) Some trees will grow as fast as your children! (More on that later)
And now that you are inspired, or shamed , one more thing....please, dig the hole twice as big as the root ball, pull off as much burlap as you can, and plant at the same depth as it was balled or potted. See previous post on mulching. Trust me on this, take time now to do it right once...its no fun having to dig that hole a second time. That tree can never move, give it a nice comfy place to stretch out and thrive!
Enjoy the tree for as long as you live in the house, and know the next folks and their children will as well.

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