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Choosing the Right Tree

What tree is best for you?

Always trust the Live Oak! Probably the most popular tree of the south, the Live Oak is magnificent, gives wonderful shade, reduces the temperature under it by at least 10 degrees, is strong in hurricanes, and has incredible longevity. It beautifies every landscape and is a ‘must have’ tree. Our Southern Live Oaks or the beautiful Cathedral Live Oaks are available in a variety of sizes to fit any space and every landscape. Want something unique and different? Consider the rarely seen in the south, Cedrus Deodara ‘Patti Faye’. This is a northern looking tree that has a gorgeous blue color every time it flushes; it’s like having a Christmas tree all year long. Similar to a blue spruce, this tree will stand out in any landscape, but is limited mainly to hardiness zones 9-10 (generally Central Florida, north to South Carolina and west to Texas). See the map below for your hardiness zone.

Another evergreen tree to consider is the outstanding Magnolia tree. With two cultivars to choose from, you can have a very different look. The DD Blanchard with its glossy green leaves and saddle brown velvet soft backs give a very rich look to your landscape. For smaller areas we offer the super easy to grow, Alta Magnolia. They have a similar look but are smaller in size and leaf shape and are very dense, making them suited for either a hedge or a special tree in your yard. Both have the aromatic huge white flowers. All our Magnolia trees are mature enough to flower every year.

What Size Tree?

Live Oaks are measured by their trunks and the caliper inch. For a Live Oak tree that is 4” in caliper or smaller the measurement is taken at 6” up from the ground. There the circumference is measured. Tree’s larger than 6” in caliper are measured 12” up the trunk from the ground. How tall is a 4” caliper tree? The following is a general standard for Live Oaks:
Caliper Height Width (or canopy spread)
3" 11'-14' 4'-6'
4" 14'-22' 8'-12'
5" 18'-24' 10'-15'
6" 20'-26' 10'-16'
7" 24'-28' 16'-20'
8" 24'-30' 16'-21'
9" 25'-30' 16'-21'
10" 26'-36' 18'-22'

9" Caliper Cathedral Live Oak

Facts to Consider When Choosing a Tree:

Choosing the right kind tree for your landscape, whether it’s for a backyard or development project, depends on many factors. Some of them include:

  • Height — How tall of a tree can your landscape accommodate? Will it bump up against structures or obstacles like power lines? How will its height relate to the other trees or plants in your landscape? Do you have enough space for a large tree given the amount of space you have to work with and the other plants or trees that are in your landscape?
  • Canopy Spread — How wide will the tree grow? This consideration is similar to height in that you also need to consider other trees or structures nearby. What kinds of plants can thrive under the canopy that the tree provides?
  • Form or Shape — Similar to the considerations for canopy and height, the shape of a tree should be suited to the amount of space you have to work with in your landscape, as well as the other trees or plants that you have growing there.
  • Growth Rate — Especially for new homes or construction projects, how fast your tree grows could be a factor. For example, if you want to create as much shade as quickly as possible, go with the faster growing trees or consider purchasing a mature tree that already has the canopy and shade you want. Also consider how long you want your trees to last and figure on the lifespan of each tree. Live Oaks will have the longest lifespan but most of the trees we offer will live for more than 25 years.
  • Soil, Sun and Moisture — Getting the right tree for the environment of your landscape is an important factor. Some trees do well in sandy soil and some do not. Others can survive in near drought conditions and some need plenty of moisture. How much sunlight a tree needs is also a factor and can determine the kinds of trees that can co-exist in your landscape.
  • Temperature Ranges — It’s important to choose the right tree for your climate. Some species simply can’t grow in cold temperate zones and others will not be able to thrive in extreme heat. You can tell what trees will grow best in your climate by referring to the above map for your hardiness zone.

Once you have chosen the right tree(s) for your application, you can use the Roots Plus Growers Planting and Pruning Cue Cards for instructions on how to plant and care for your trees.