By Clayton Ditzler
Most homeowners have had tree-related troubles from time to time. Perhaps it was a fruit tree that dropped a messy layer of fruit all over your patio every fall at your previous home, or a variety that shed countless bits of organic material into your carefully chosen water feature. No matter the specific issue, poorly selected or sited trees can require quite a bit of maintenance.
Trees are a big investment and take time to become established. Tree choices come down to establishing what function you want from said tree (e.g. shade, screening, flowering, etc.) and then picking a variety that will fill that role without adding too many negative side effects. Then, it must be sited where it has enough room to mature and benefit from the proper soil and lighting conditions. A stressed tree will be a sick tree, so take the time to make these selections carefully.
The ideal low-maintenance tree is hardy, fairly clean (i.e. doesn’t produce too much trash, such as messy fruit) and free of significant pest or disease problems. Ideal specimens also have good natural structure and tidy growth habits, reducing the need for excessive pruning. Consider some of the newer cultivars of old standby tree varieties, as they have been bred with superior characteristics to make them better suited to a low-maintenance landscape (e.g. Malus ‘Spring Snow,’ a white flowering ornamental crabapple that produces no fruit).
Again, consider enlisting the help of a professional for selection and installation to ensure optimum success; once planted, you may even want to hire a professional arborist to maintain your trees for you. They have the equipment and knowledge to do the job safely and properly.
This is tip 3 of 10 in Low Maintenance Landscapes