A healthy urban forest begins with careful planning. A few factors to consider before planting a tree are:
- The function of the tree. Do you want the tree to provide shade, fruit, or seasonal color? Or do you want it to act as a windbreak or screen?
- Choose the right tree for the right space. It is important to pick your site first, then your tree second. Does the space lend itself to a small, medium, or large tree? Try and imagine the size of the tree at maturity, not at the time of planting.
- The soil conditions. Do you have fertile, well-drained soil or shallow, compacted soil?
- How much time you will have to properly care for your tree? The first 3-5 years are the most important years for the survival of a new tree. Do you have time to water, fertilize, and prune the tree until it is established? Or will you rely on your garden or tree care service for assistance?
The ideal time to plant a tree in the Willamette Valley is late fall through early winter, after leaf drop and well before bud break. Always select healthy trees from a nursery. Choose a tree with a straight, strong single stem, and good form. Make sure the tree does not have signs of insect damage, dead bark, or cankers.