Selecting Trees
Douglas L. Airhart & Guy Zimmerman III

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Right Tree / Right Place

Selecting Trees

Transplanting Trees

Mulching & Staking

Summary Diagram 

Pruning Trees

Topping Hurts!

Protecting Trees

Tree Root Myths

Pine Bark Beetles

Live Christmas Trees


List of Figures

List of Video Vignettes

Related Links



[The Root System] [The Trunk] [The Branches]

    Selecting Landscape Trees- Introduction:

Selecting a young tree is the best basis for having a healthy mature tree, but it is complicated. First, you have to consider the intended function and planting location of the tree as we discussed in Right tree / Right place.

In general, the tree should appear healthy, with good green color in the leaves (if present), a thick stem to prevent trunk swaying, and a suitable canopy that is not top-heavy. But the tree itself has the most critical factors to consider.


You should see a root flare or trunk flare, where the base of the trunk spreads out to become roots.


Examine the root mass of containerized trees to locate any circling roots. Roots of B&B trees cannot be inspected because it is possible you would destroy the ball wrapping.


Inspect the trunk and main stem. Look for good taper, vertical and radial spacing of the main limbs, and for one main leader.


Then consider the branches that make up the canopy, looking for any discolored wood or insect damage.

For more information, choose from the root, trunk, or branch links at the top of the page.


Purpose    Right Tree / Right Place    Selecting Trees    Transplanting Trees    Mulching & Staking    Summary Diagram     Pruning Trees    Topping Hurts!      Protecting Trees     Tree Root Myths     Pine Bark Beetles     Live Christmas Trees     Glossary     List of Figures    List of Video Vignettes    Related Links     Bibliography is maintained by: Douglas Airhart, Ph.D. Certified Arborist & Jeff Plant, Ph.D, Last Updated on: 07/11/03