Variety is the Spice of Life

By: Jean Ferdinandsen, Certified Arborist WI-0149A

Fall 2007 Newsletter in Adobe PDF format Tree diversity is important for both aesthetic and health reasons.

Many of us find comfort in a routine or familiar thing, such as a favorite shirt or song. Yet, you probably wouldn’t want to wear that shirt, or hear that song 24/7/365.

Providing for a variety or diversity of trees adds interest, promotes a healthier landscape, and can help avoid negative issues and problems. A landscape with good tree diversity, in type as well as in age, has many advantages. An old rule-ofthumb was to plant no more than 10% of one species, 20% of one genus and 30% of one tree family. This is an easy goal to achieve in a home landscape, more challenging for an entire community.

Benefits of tree diversity are both aesthetic as well as health related. Different trees can provide seasonal interest at different times of the year through flowers, leaf color, fruit, fall color, size, texture and form. Contrasts of these features add visual interest to your landscape. Trees have different life spans, too, so diversity of size or age and type helps maintain a viable landscape with fewer problems.

Some trees may have specific problems, such as crabapples & apple scab; white birches & bronze birch borers; or Austrian pines & Zimmerman pine moth or Diplodia shoot blight. Tree diversity can reduce the impact of problems, both in severity and incidence.

Planting and maintaining a variety of trees will lessen the impact of pests or diseases. A landscape with little diversity means that if insect or disease issues strike, you stand to lose a larger portion of your landscape at one time. With diversity, a single issue affects a smaller portion of your landscape. Imagine losing twenty trees because they are all the same when an insect or disease strikes, vs. only one or two, because you have variety and diversity.

The Certified Arborists at Wachtel Tree Science and Service can help you maximize the beauty and diversity of your landscape and minimize the impact of insects and diseases with tree selection.

© Copyright 2007 – Wachtel Tree Science & Service, Inc.

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