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I want to create more shade in my backyard area. I would like to…

Patti Asked

I want to create more shade in my backyard area. I would like to plant some trees along a fence line that would hopefully grow quickly enough to provide shade within the next year, too. I’m wondering what type of trees might be best, and if there’s a best time of year to plant them or if I could do it right now.

The Gardener’s Answer

Before choosing trees to add to the landscape there are a few things to consider. Do you want large (45+ feet), medium (25-40 feet), or smaller and more ornamental (12-25 feet) trees? Do you want all of them to be deciduous or if you have the space, a combination of evergreens and deciduous trees might be something to think about.

Other factors to consider are height and width limitations. Do you have any overhead lines to deal with? You should call 811 to have your underground lines marked before digging. It is also a good idea to have your soil tested before planting. This is a service provided by the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service. You can contact them at (502) 569-2344. The results will give you a lot of information about the soil and recommendations for improvement. It is much easier to amend the soil before planting, and your trees will be happier for it.

Does the soil where you plan to plant drain well? If not, you will want to consider options that will tolerate moist conditions.

After taking into account all of these different factors you can do the fun part and pick out your trees! Fall is a great time to plant trees. It allows the roots enough time to get settled in before winter arrives and the temperatures are milder. Depending on the specifics of your planting site and your wish list, a landscape designer may be helpful. All trees require different growing conditions, and some are faster growers than others. They all have different growing habits and mature at different widths and sizes. As a Kentucky gardener, you have many native options including Red Maple, River Birch, Blackgum and Hornbeam just to name a few.

For a detailed list of deciduous tree options, click here. For a publication that lists tree options for Kentucky gardeners, click here. Always purchase disease resistant options from a reliable source.

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