Visit your local nursery to find the type of tree you want to plant. Nurseries grow trees and dig them up with a ball of root-filled soil intact. This root ball is snuggly wrapped in a layer of burlap to keep it safe and ready for you to take home to plant. Sometimes trees are sold bare-rooted as well. These trees need to be planted a bit differently than those with a wrapped root ball (more on this later). Choose a tree that is already 5' to 6' tall.
Here are few common types of trees that are popular choices to plant in yards around the country, depending on the climate/region where you live:
Shade Trees – Shade trees are popular because they add beauty to your yard as well as provide the practical benefits implied in their name. In the Northeast, try planting a tree from the maple family, such as Red Maple, Sugar Maple or Silver Maple. In the Southeast, Live Oaks do well. Other good general choices are Red Oak, Green Ash and Weeping Willow. In the Midwest, Linden trees make excellent shade trees, while in the Rocky Mountain area, Aspen is a great choice. In the Southwest, Pine trees thrive, but generally, evergreens, such as Blue Spruce, White Pine and Hemlocks make good shade trees all year long in many regions of the country.
Ornamental Trees – Ornamental trees are great choices for their aesthetic appeal and smaller size (for yards where large shade trees are maybe not ideal). Popular ornamental tree choices are Dogwood, Crab Apple, and Crape Myrtle. Palms are great ornamentals that do well in arid, warm regions. In the Southwest, Magnolia is a good choice—a classic, beautiful addition to any yard. Japanese Maple is an attractive ornamental perfect for the climate conditions in the Northwest.
Fruit Trees – Fruit trees are pleasing to the eye and also bear the delicious product for which they are named. Depending on where you live, apple, cherry, peach, and citrus trees can be great additions to your landscape. Citrus tends to grow best in warm, temperate areas. Similarly, peach trees are good growers in the Southeast. Apple trees do well in the Northeast, Midwest and Northwest. Plum trees are ideal in the Rockies and Southwest regions. Remember that fruit trees often need considerable maintenance and care to create the types of produce you’re used to getting at your local supermarket.
If you are unsure which trees are ideal, ask someone at your Local True Value for suggestions on which trees are best for your needs and the region in which you live.
Always pick up the tree by the root ball, not the trunk, to avoid damage.
Prioritize planting trees that are native to your region.
If you want to plant trees that grow quickly, consider Crape Myrtle, American Red Maple, Pink Dogwood, River Birch, Eucalyptus or Weeping Willow, among others.
If you are looking for a tree that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, consider planting River Birch, Crabapple, Hemlock or Red Cedar trees, among others.