Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place

Once the purpose of the planted tree is determined, then other factors can be used to select the right tree. Soil Conditions Most trees grow best in a moist, deep, fertile, well- drained soil. Unfortunately, these soils do not occur fre- quently on developed property. Soil conditions are prob- ably the most overlooked factor when selecting a tree. Soil contains the nutrients, air, water and organic matter required for tree growth. Both the physical and chemical properties of soils in developed areas have usually been altered, which affects fertility, aeration and drainage. Choosing trees that are best suited for the soil conditions on your property will govern how well they grow and prosper. Soil fertility can easily be judged with a soil test. Soil tests will give indications of available nutrients (N, P and K), soil pH (acidity or alkalinity) and organic matter con- tent. Soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is optimum for most trees; how- ever, certain trees thrive at lower or higher values. Contact your county Extension office for soil testing information. The physical aspects of the soil include its volume and texture (amount of sand, silt and clay). These soil properties influence aeration, internal drainage and water-holding ca- pacity. Soils with large pore spaces (sand) will drain faster than those with small pore spaces (clay). However, clay soils will hold moisture longer than sandy soils. The optimum soil