Tree Body of Palos Park
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Planting the Right Tree in the Right Spot!

It is essential, when picking a tree species for a planting area, that surrounding environmental conditions be considered to optimize a successful growing tree. Putting the right tree in the right spot can mean the difference between success and failure. For example a Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) is a drought-tolerant tree that doesnít like a lot of water; planting a Jack Pine in a low, moist area most likely will lead to tree failure. A Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) needs a lot of sun; therefore planting a Black Walnut in an area dominated by shade will result in unsuccessful tree growth. Some environmental factors that directly affect tree growth are: Temperature, Moisture, Sun-light, Pests, Soil.

Hardiness is a plantís ability to survive low temperatures. Trees native to warmer climates are not as hardy as trees in colder climates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes a map of hardiness zones that labels each geographic area for low temperature extremes. Illinois is located in Zone 5 where extreme temperature lows would average between -20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Florida is Zone 10 which has an average low temperature between 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A Palm tree, which grows best in Zone 10, wouldnít survive in our area where there is a 50 degree difference in low temperature average.

All species of trees prefer different degrees of wet or dry growing conditions. Homeowners should pay special attention to tree selection if the planting area frequently floods, is subjected to very dry conditions, or is continually exposed to the drying effect of wind. Watering, of course, can help in drought-prone locations, but even when watering, it is important to know the ideal soil moisture requirements for your tree.

Make sure that trees needing a lot of sun are planted in locations that offer lots of sunlight. Trees that are shade tolerant should be planted in areas that offer good shade. Avoid planting a tree where it is mismatched with its need for light.

Every tree has its problems with insects or diseases. The best way to avoid trouble is to avoid species that host certain pests. Sometimes it is possible to buy varieties that have been bred for resistance to diseases.

The relationship between tree root systems and the characteristics of the soils in which they grow has greater influence on tree health than any other single factor. Itís important to know what type of soil you will be planting your tree in. Clay soils have a greater density so moisture is held in clay soils longer. A more sandy soil is coarser and has a lower water holding capability. Trees that are more drought-tolerant should be planted in well-drained soil. Trees that need a larger amount of water should be planted in soil that will maintain more moisture. Soil pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. A pH in the range of 6.0 to 6.5 is generally favorable for most tree growth.

Putting the right tree in the right spot can greatly increase a newly planted treeís growing potential and optimize the highest health standards for newly planted trees!
     
River Birch (Betula nigra)
Fast growing, up to 3 feet per year. Best planted in groups on wet moist soil with a pH of 6.5. Very drought sensitive.Requires full sun.
  Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)
Grows very rapidly, and is very adaptable, drought tolerant, needs full sun.
     
White Pine (Pinus strobes)
Fast growing, tolerates both light and shade. Very susceptible to salt damage. Prefers good, well-drained garden soil and protection from west winds.
  American Linden (Tilia Americana)
Tolerates some shade but does best in full  sun and mesic soils. Has some drought tolerance.
     
White Oak (Quercus alba)
Illinois state tree! Grows well in sand or clay but never in very wet sites. Most oaks are intolerant of shade, but White Oak is mildly shade tolerant-needing 3-4 hours of sun daily.
  Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Very tolerant of heavy clay soil, high pH, and open areas. Adaptable tree however  prefers heavier soils and needs full sun.