Q. What would be your top tree choices for a yard (2+ acres)? So far we have been able to plant KY natives following the 10/20/30 (almost). We love wildlife. Two purposes on top of our list are privacy trees/shrubs and windbreak (two different areas of the yard).
A. Hi, Chris: It sounds like you have a fun project! Certain factors should be considered first in order to make good planting decisions. What is the available sunlight in the different spaces you are planting? Six hours of direct sun is considered full sun; 3 hours or less is considered shade. Are there any overhead wires or other space limitations? The soil pH, nutrient level, and how well the soil drains should also be taken into consideration. You can have your soil tested through your County Cooperative Extension Service. Different plants prefer different growing sites; giving them what they like and enough space to mature is the first step in growing a long-lived, healthy garden. From a design standpoint, it will look more natural with groupings of plant material throughout the garden as opposed to several single sporadic plantings. It will also give you what you want in terms of privacy and a windbreak. You may even want to consider having a design drawn for you professionally.
Choosing native plant material is beneficial for many reasons. Being diverse and selecting disease-resistant varieties is just as beneficial. You have enough space to include both evergreen and deciduous trees as well as shrubs and maybe even a native perennial garden to attract butterflies and other wildlife. The following links are a publications on Kentucky native trees/shrubs and native planting for wildlife: http://www.uky.edu/hort/Native-Trees-of-Kentucky. http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/for/for98/for98.htm
A few of my personal favorites include: pawpaw (Asiminia triloba), witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), and Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis).