How do I determine the best trees for my lot?


I will be landscaping my yard and want to put lots of trees on the land. How do I go about figuring out which trees are best? How do I “reforest” a small lot?


Abi Griffith, Horticulture Community Education Assistant

Thanks for your question – sounds like an exciting project! The first thing you’ll want to do is a pretty thorough site assessment, if you haven’t already done so. The idea is to select trees and plants that naturally thrive in the conditions on your property. The first two things you want to consider are sun exposure and drainage. If you need to investigate drainage, you can determine by checking after a rainfall.  You could map out the area you are assessing to keep track of varying conditions. Other things you want to keep in mind include topography, competing vegetation and, of course, overall purpose (wind block, attracting wildlife/birds, etc.).

Taking a look at the first part of this bulletin – Designing Your Landscape for Maine could be helpful for brainstorming and planning. It is geared more towards perhaps a more diverse landscape plan, but its principles could be helpful as you start to plan.

Depending on how well you know your property, you could consider getting a Soil Test which will give you information about pH and nutrient levels.  It’s not totally necessary for tree plantings but it couldn’t hurt since this is such a big project!

Check out Plants for the Maine Landscape and scroll down for recommendations of trees and plants by site condition (e.g., plants for wet, sunny conditions) to compile options for your different site conditions. This page has other helpful resources as well. You may want to consider layering different sized trees or even shrubs to create diversity.
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