planting for today and future generations

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Tree Tips

Why Plant Trees
Choosing and planting a tree on your own can be daunting: so many possibilities, so many unknowns. And it’s not easy to fire up for a project that pays the biggest dividends far into the future. Don’t let that slow you down.

Not all of the trees you remember from other places you’ve lived or visited can grow here, but many can. Take a look at the specimens. Narrow down your choices. Then, talk to one of the nurseries in town. Their business is to know trees.

A new tree is an improvement to your property and to your neighborhood. Trees make places to play. They can make roads safer for drivers and walkers. They reduce noise, shade your house and yard in the summer, and provide a windbreak. With our hotter and longer summers, consider putting a large shade tree in the southern and southwestern parts of your yard to shade your house. Fast-growing elms and slower-growing bur oaks make wonderful shade trees. Honey locusts and box elders may also be good options. They grow large quickly, though honey locusts’ canopy can be sparse, and box elder tree’s wood can be weak.

Beyond their utilitarian virtues, trees mark the slow fabric of time. There may be a season for everything, but we need to feel the passing of the seasons to appreciate that.

You plant trees because you care about the future. It’s good for all of us that you do.

Which Trees to Plant
Trees for Townsend A Gift for Future Generations – Adapted for Townsend from “Putting Down Roots” Growing Friends of Helena, 2002

Trees for Townsend

How to Plant and Care For Trees
Planting trees involves some science and a fair amount of art. The nursery people differ on the details and they all have good reasons for their approaches. You’re best off asking your nursery if you have questions. But if you want a second opinion, below is what Growing Friends of Helena recommends.

A Guide to Planting Trees

The following terms encountered in the text of Putting Down Roots – Selecting the Right Tree for Your Helena Home may be unfamiliar. For more details about soil conditions, tree diseases, and other subjects, consult a field guide or other technical source.

Glossary of Terms

Lastly, the City of Helena has put together a resource to describe the permitted and not permitted trees that can be planted in boulevards.

Quick Reference to Arboricultural Specification and Standards for the City of Helena