Project 4: Tree Research

Blood maple. Deciduous trees are great for leaf litter and letting in winter light.

This is Project 4 in my Start a Garden Guide, and is the perfect autumn mission for anyone planning on planting fruit/ shelter/ shade trees this winter.

Rule number 1 for an easy garden life, is be sure the trees you plant are well matched to you + your garden.

Take a little time + do a little tree research before shopping, (I have hope). Find trees that:

  • suit your soil
  • happily cope with all 4 seasons at your place (sunshine, shade, temperature, frost, rainfall)
  • are the right size for the available space – yes please!, pay double attention to this one.
  • fulfil your wishes: grow your favourite fruits, attract birds, glow with autumn colour, create privacy/ shelter, provide summer shade …

Good matches are my wish for you! When well matched, strong growth comes with next to no effort, and you avoid future tree dramas.

The ultimate tree research list

Grab a big sheet of card and set it up with the headings below. Stick it on the wall/ fridge/ headboard to keep it alive in your mind.

Use these headings:

  • Shelter.
    Up to 3m is the most useful height – sheltering animals/small fruit trees/berries/vegies/you – find lots of these.
    3-5m to shelter house/ larger fruit + nut trees/ for big winds.
    Over 6m suits larger tracts of land, for soaking up water, for erosion control. Consider big trees carefully!
  • Deciduous tree/s for leaf supply, shade and autumn colour
  • Shade trees for greenhouse/ animals/ chooks/ humans
  • Nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs for orchard and garden companions
  • Deciduous fruit + nut trees
  • Evergreen fruit (citrus, avocado, olive, feijoa)
  • Fruiting vines
  • Berries + Currants

Community Research

Tui in Paniculata

Your wider community is the very best place for your tree research. Google can give you some up’s but nothing as valuable as what your neighbours/ local pro’s can.

  • Scout out the gardeners in your hood. Then turn up with scones and pick their brains!
  • Join community gardens.
  • Check out your council website for suitable natives.
  • Visit local nurseries.
  • Go to lots of garden open days/ tours/ workshops.
  • Attend Tree Croppers meetings.

Jot down trees as discover them. You’ll appreciate this list bigtime, when you come to buy your trees in.

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