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What is your favorite size tree to plant and why?

Our first question of the year is an important one that many of us might benefit from, What is your favorite size tree to plant and why? Some of us propagate trees from seedlings while others only plant 2 inch diameter at breast height trees.  Have you noticed different success rates with different size trees? What size is optimal for homeowners? What size is right for a Tree Ordinance? Please share your experience with us.

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  • In our New England suburb numerous deer herds travel through our backyard landscapes. We have had success nevertheless planting whips in an enclosed propagation nursery for a couple of years before moving them out into the landscape. Watering the first years is the most important, then only during periods of drought. We have about 90% success with whips.

  • Hmmm, in an urban environment with broad streets and broad sidewalks and underground linesI would suggest the thornless, seedless honey locust tree.  In urban environments with narrow streets and sidewalks and overhead lines I would suggest one of the dwarf crabs or hawthorns.  For a person with a city lot (in some cities this is 1/10 of an acre) and wants fruit I would suggest the north american paw paw (asimina triloba).  They are naturally small.  Plant two or more for pollination.  For a person with acreage the sky is the limit!

  • I like planting trees that are at least 5 ft tall and in pots as they seem to grow faster when planted in the ground.  I have grown fruit trees from twigs and they have been successful.  I planted them in small pots and slowly graduated they to larger pots and finally in the ground.   I planted cypress trees that were 1 ft rooted twigs and they did not survive the drought we had in Texas.  I planted a cypress tree that was 5 ft about 5 years ago and now it is over 20 ft!  When I cleaned my pond filter out, I would pour the algae-fish waste water on that tree.  It is a beautiful tree and I will take a photo of it soon and post.  The summer of 2013, we lost 21 Shumard oak trees due to the drought.  Fall of 2013, I planted 6 Burr Oaks that are right at 5 ft.  I also look for trees that are not root bound because that is a big growth slow down and sometimes actually leads to the tree's demise.  I love trees and anytime we travel... I always say... "Oh, Look at that tree!"

  • From David Dylewski to Admin
    Sent 3 hours ago

    We have had success with all sizes, but prefer smaller whip sizes for the planting of Street Trees by the resident or by volunteer planting groups. The 2-2 1/2 caliber trees are more expensive to plant, but if monies are available, we have also been successful with this caliber of tree to plant as a Street Tree.

  • Smaller is better IF IF IF one can keep the string trimmers and lawnmowers away from the trees.  I've seen instances where seedlings have caught up to 1 1/2" caliper trees.  Gary Watson, Morton Arobretum has done extensive research on root establishment after transplanting.  His research explains why this happens.

  • 1 to 1.5" caliper but am required to plant 2" caliper by ordinance.

    Yes, based on my experience, the success rate is higher for smaller caliper trees.

    Optimal size for a homeowner "DIY" would be less than 2" B&B.  B&B trees are difficult to handle and most homeowners would have to have their nursery plant it for them to get the tree set at  the correct depth - at least you'd hope the nursery would know that the correct depth is for the root flare is at ground level or slightly below.

    Right size for an ordinance should depend on where the tree is going to be placed (e.g. where aesthetics are an issue 2", all other places 1 to 1.5" minimum.  Natives are the way to go I believe but some non-natives are appropriate for special areas. 

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