Skip to main content

Urban Trees in the Landscape

These days, there is a great conversation going on for a better tree ordinance in Osceola County. I know many people would ask why waste time talking about trees. Stop! In order to understand this conversation we first have to know why trees are important to our environment.

Trees are very important because they cool the environment by providing shade. They add an aesthetic quality to the landscape through leaf color, flowers, fruits, bark colors and textures. Trees can improve air quality by acting as filters in removing some impurities from the air. They help with water quality by assisting in reducing soil erosion, absorbing storm water, and helping filter out pollutants. Trees provide a habitat for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife in an urban environment. They serve as a noise buffer to help reduce traffic noise from the busy streets. Trees can also provide a privacy screen to block an unpleasant view or stop your neighbors from looking in your yard.

Now that you know the importance of having trees in your landscape, I am quite certain that you are interested in planting new trees and taking care of the existing ones. Knowing the following information will help you have healthy tree growth and development: soil characteristics, environmental conditions, planting space, site location, and maintenance requirements. Soil conditions are among the most critical considerations for tree growth and survival. Some of the soil characteristics to consider when selecting a site are: soil texture, soil pH, soil compaction, moisture, and drainage.

Environmental conditions are important to a tree’s health. The environmental conditions at the planting site will affect the ability of the tree to grow healthy and enable it to reach full maturity. Environmental conditions to consider are: the amount of sunlight that the site receives and the species that will strive well in your area due to temperature.

Furthermore, it is very important to put the right plant at the right place. The site location offers clues on potential stresses that may impact tree health and maintenance. Too often the amount of space a tree needs, both for growth of branches and roots, is not fully considered and understood. Trees planted too near buildings will have more stress and need to be pruned on a regular basis. Trees need to be far enough away from buildings to allow for proper crown and root development. Trees that grow large such as oaks should be planted at least 15 feet from a building. When planning a tree planting site you must know the mature height and width of that species.

In new tree establishment, it is very important that trees are properly irrigated for the first month after installation. Placing a mulch approximately 3 feet in circumference around the tree will assist in moisture retention. Be certain not to place mulch directly on the trunk or the root flair of the tree.

For more detailed information on planting trees and other topics related to horticulture contact Grantly Ricketts at 321-697-3000 or email gricketts@ufl.edu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *