Before selecting a tree for your site, you should first consider the adage “the right tree in the right place”. Look around your proposed planting site for present or future obstructions. Are there power lines or underground utilities nearby? Do you see sidewalks, curbs, or streets near where you intend to plant your tree? Today your tree may be small or only a seedling. In the future, your tree may grow and cause undesirable obstructions when viewed from your home or by passing motorists.

Most units of government have ordinances or guidelines for planting in or near the right of way—spaces where the public or a passerby has the right to access. You should first contact your city, township, road commission, county or state government for your particular location before planting.

When you know where you can plant then you can start to determine the best species for your site. Is it sunny, shady, and sandy or is clay soil present? Do you want a big tree to make shade, a small tree with flowers, or a tree for fall colors? You may want to pick a tree that is a different species from any others nearby for diversity.

Illustration © Arbor Day Foundation

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For expert tree advice in Kalamazoo, Portage or any other West Michigan County contact tree expert Mike Graham with Graham Forestry for best results. Call (269) 207-4176 or email using our online form to schedule your appointment.