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It’s Time to Plant Trees


By Paul James

A new study conducted by the U.S. Forest Service says American cities are losing 36 million trees a year due to development of roads and buildings. Tree cover in urban areas is declining at a rate of 175,000 acres per year, and the state with the largest losses is – wait for it – Oklahoma. If that isn’t reason enough to plant a tree, I don’t know what is. But which tree should you plant?

To simplify your decision-making process, I’ve selected five of my favorite shade trees based on the following criteria.

Adaptability: Not all that picky about soil type.

Pest and Disease Resistance: Pretty much problem free.

Fall Color: Variable, from decent to spectacular.

And here are the winners.

Yes, there are plenty of other great tree choices, including Japanese maples, Ginkgo, and redbud, but you can’t go wrong with any one of these. And the bottom line is clear: We need to plant more trees!

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6 responses to “It’s Time to Plant Trees”

  1. Aprell Davie says:

    Is the Shantung Maple as susceptible to wind damage as many of the other types of maples?

  2. Andy says:

    Great presentation on Alive Soils today! Never know how much to augment the soil in the tree planting hole. And have found twisted roots and strangled trunks from poor planting technique and just stupid leaving nylon cord around burlap wrapped root ball killing the tree as it grows. Anyway, keep up the informative and entertaining presentations.

    • Paul James says:

      Thanks, Andy. I generally recommend that you not amend the soil at planting time. It’s better for the tree to adapt to whatever soil type you’ve got. Of course, you have to pick a tree that’s capable of doing well in whatever soil you’ve got.

  3. Janet Bohl says:

    I am looking for a tree birds would love that fits a small space, only maybe 8 foot spread that is hardy here in Tulsa. Partial shade south side of apartment

    • Paul James says:

      Crabapple or chokeberry would work and provide fruit. Hinoki cypress offers excellent nesting sites.





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