The Spokesman-Review

Planting For The Future Consider Height, Shade, Power Lines And Other Factors When Planting Trees

We learned some hard lessons about trees from November’s ice storm, and a lot of us have new stacks of curing firewood to prove it.

Licensed arborists may be the most popular professionals in the region this spring, and their advice could help you select the right replacement trees for your site.

In general, consider the mature height of the tree before you plant it under power lines or next to buildings, and be prepared to hire a professional to prune it periodically.

Short, flowering trees are a good choice beneath utility wires, and their root systems are less likely to grow into your sewer line or lift your sidewalks to tripping height. A walk through Finch Arboretum is one good way to see what trees look like at maturity.

Which way does your house face? An evergreen windbreak on the north can block cold winter winds, but on the south they would block whatever warmth the pale winter sun provides.

Placement of deciduous trees also requires thinking ahead to imagine how much shade they will provide at maturity. Plant for where you want the shadow during the hottest part of the year, and the time of day you want shade the most.

Local nurseries stock hundreds of kinds of trees that are right for our area’s temperatures, but it’s up to you to plan for your trees’ health. Some trees, like pines or white birch, need full sun.

Maples, hemlocks and lindens are shade-tolerant. Elms seem to attract bugs that punch holes in the leaves, but gingkos and golden raintree are known for their resistance to pests.

Soil and moisture requirements also vary with tree species. Check with the WSU Cooperative Extension office for guidance about soil analysis.

Washington Water Power has some good publications about tree selection in the urban environment, and more information is available from The National Arbor Day Foundation (100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410). xxxx TREE INFORMATION More information about tree selection, tree damage assessment or planting is available from these agencies: Spokane Conservation District, 353-2120. Spokane Parks & Recreation, 625-6655. Washington Department of Natural Resources, (800) 523-8733. WSU Cooperative Extension, 533-2048. Washington Water Power, 489-6104. A free booklet, “The Book of Trees: Tree Selection Guide,” is available from WWP by calling the above number.

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