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Tree Selection Tips

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Monday, February 17, 2020 - 7:00am

Gary Bachman: Many times we choose trees for our landscapes trying to get the best shade, but we should also consider the tree shape today on Southern Gardening.

Narrator: Southern gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University extension service.

Gary Bachman: Many of us don't really pay attention to the shapes of the trees until we have to do some yard work around them. Mowing the lawn can help to foster an appreciation of the various shapes that trees grow in. For example, trees with round shapes look great against the skyline, relate well visually was single story homes, and they cast more shade. White oak, Norway maple, and Washington hawthorn are examples of trees with round shapes. Columnar-shaped trees are suitable for windbreaks, screening, and as backgrounds, and they look great in groupings. Eastern red cedar and columnar European hornbeam are two examples.

Oval-shaped trees are attractive when paired with another geometric form such as a round shade tree. Examples include green ash, aristocrat and Bradford pear, and Northern Catalpa. Other shapes include umbrella, weeping, and pyramidal. Attractive tree shapes add fundamental character to the landscape. On the Mississippi coast, the contorted shapes of live oaks tell the tale of storms from the past. Trees with weeping shapes like the weeping willow can remind the viewer of a cascading fountain. There's no doubt that trees with unique shapes can make great specimen landscape plants. They can enhance architecture or the frame of view. But remember, you can complicate the landscape if you have too many shapes in the same view. Be sure to choose a tree species or variety whose shape fits into your landscape aesthetically and physically. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

Narrator: Southern gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University extension service.

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