Planting trees to meet your goals
So, you have decided it is time to plant some trees! Congratulations!
Tree planting is an exciting opportunity to leave a long-term
legacy on the ground – a legacy that will benefit people,
wildlife, and the environment. You are taking the time to read this
bulletin and that will help your understanding of your planting
Maybe you want to reforest a portion of your property, or you
want to block the view the neighbors have of your deck; perhaps
you simply want to do something productive and beneficial for
nature. Planting individual trees, or groups of trees, and watching
them grow, is very rewarding.
Woodland establishment or creating a strategic cluster of trees
using transplants is also an important step in improving the
ecological conditions of rural property in the Northeast. Whether
specifically for wildlife, to develop a future timber stand, or as
a windbreak, trees can provide many benefits for humans. This
chapter describes how rural property owners can better match
their long-range objectives with the trees they plant. We suggest
good practices for tree planting and how to deal with potential
problems. Below are common examples of long-range goals that
we explain later in this bulletin:
▪ Establishing trees for wood products (timber, fuel wood,
▪ Attracting wildlife
▪ Screening for privacy or reduce a nuisance
▪ Restoring a field back to a forest, or creating a maple sugar
▪ Windbreak for home, farm, or road
▪ Planting to improve a view
▪ Restoring a forest following a natural disturbance
▪ Other goals and objectives for tree planting
You may be ready to order tree seedlings to plant, or you may be
dreaming of owning property you will someday manage. Either
way, you will likely be planting trees to achieve a purposeful
result. With some background information, planning, and good
planting techniques, you will reduce the frustration people experience
when their tree planting projects fail.
An essential step in planning is communication among all those
who will help establish, maintain, or utilize the planting. Avoid
the temptation to rush into a project. Talk with your spouse,
siblings, parents and children. Learn their interests in the property
and the planting. Discuss the variety of objectives and how
tree planting might contribute to your collective enjoyment of the
property, now and in the future.
This chapter describes a variety of common planting objectives,
including general recommendations for developing a planting.
For your specific planting objective, you may need to mix and
match the guidance provided. Other chapters in this bulletin
provide more detail on the characteristics of certain species or efficient techniques to accomplish a certain task.
Planting trees to meet your goals
Goals for tree planting and
how to meet those goals without compromising the natural ecology
of your property: You might visualize the potential for success
in your effort as the amount of overlap among three circles
one circle represents your objectives or goals,
the second circle represents the ecological conditions of
the site where you will plant, and the third circle represents
the characteristics of the species you intend to plant
– what the species needs and what it provides.
With most woodland activities, the owner’s objectives
have top priority. However, with tree planting, many
failures occur because the owner’s objectives for planting
and the species they selected did not match the site conditions.
Avoid the easy mistakes and only plant tree species
that are adapted to your site conditions.
By investing sufficient time and effort in planning you
will know where and how much overlap you have and
thus increase your potential for success. You cannot
control every planting situation and guarantee success,
but you can greatly improve your chances. The common theme across all goals is to clearly
identify your planting objectives and then select a species
that both meets your goals and is compatible with the ecological
conditions that occur at the planting site.