What Tree to Plant?

(Question)

We’re have a house built in the Rouge River area and the front will be west facing. I was wondering what would be a hardy shade tree to plant in the front yard. It is not an overly big front yard with only 50′ frontage. With the demise of so many city trees of late, I’m reluctant to plant something too popular. In our old property in Ottawa, we had planted a gingko tree and it did well, but was slow growing. Thanks in advance for your advice.

(Answer)

Thank you for getting in touch with the Toronto Master Gardeners with regard to choosing a shade tree for your front yard of your new house. Obviously you realize how important it is to choose an appropriate tree for your property.

Are you part of a new development? Is your property within the city of Toronto? If so, you would possibly qualify for a free city-planted tree. Many of the trees they offer are native trees which would be worth considering. Even if you are not located in Toronto, it will be worthwhile to see which trees are recommended.

https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/pdf/trees/street-tree-brochure.pdf

 

Because your front yard is on the west side of your property, having a good shade tree will help to protect your house from the hot afternoon sun. You will also have to consider the soil that will be on your property. Before planting whatever tree you choose, you will need to make sure that the soil will be acceptable for successful growth of a tree. [If your house is part of a new development where compacted clay soil predominates, the developer may bring in just a few inches of topsoil and sod. If that is the case, it would be advisable to make sure, before planting a tree, that the soil where the tree will be placed will have the appropriate structure for the tree that you choose. Please see: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/publications/PDF_files/CTSPsoilstrees.pdf ].  Of course, if you are close to the Rouge River, your soil may be more of a sandy loam than the clay soil predominant in the Toronto area.

For more information on planting trees, check out the Toronto Master Gardener Gardeners Guide: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/gardeningguides/planting-a-tree-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/, which will give you informatio about choosing a tree for your front yard and what you will need to consider when planting a tree–when to plant, preparing the hole, amending the soil, etc.

A tree is a long-term investment–it’s important that you can make an informed decision. If you need any more advice on selecting and planting a tree in your front yard, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Toronto Master Gardeners.