Which tree for my garden?

Which tree for my garden?

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A tree near your house will enhance it a little more each year. Family and transgenerational, it will grow at the same time as your children, will certainly know your great grandchildren, will be the wise figure of your garden ... Choose it with care. "… In the past, in front of each farm, there was always at least one venerable specimen responsible for" making shade ". These trees belonged to local species, appreciated for their robustness and the quality of the service rendered. With us, in Périgord , a lot of lime trees, chestnut trees, ash trees, elm trees, mountain ash trees, but no walnut trees… nor chestnut trees… When our ancestors planted a tree, they thought that on the bench they sealed at the foot would come to sit their grandchildren. The 1960s ratiboisois many of these giants in favor of beds of roses 'Superstar'. And if we go back to the traditions? "Extract from the work The Living Earth Guide - Planning and flowering your garden , Brigitte Lapouge-Déjean and Denis Pépin, p. 215. Depending on the size of your garden and the geographic location of your home, you have several choices for planting your tree. It will welcome you at the entrance of your house if you have a large enough courtyard - then prefer a beautiful shrub or possibly a fastiferous conifer like yew, which can cross generations for up to 500 years! And if the garden extends to the back of your house, plant a beautiful specimen to take advantage of it on a daily basis where you will live in the fresh air, receiving, gardening, strolling ... At the bottom of the ground, it creates a perspective; closer to home, it is part of it.

So that my tree will last for generations ...

"The choice depends first of all on the area available: no oak on a small plot of course, warns Sonja Gauron, landscaper from the Garden Design design office. Also study the climate of your region and the nature of your soil ... it is neutral, you can plant almost everything, if on the other hand it is limestone, it will be necessary to adapt, with a lime tree, a prunus, a soap dish (Koelreuteria paniculata) or a decorative apple tree for example. live only 20 years then decline, like birches or cherry blossoms, and study the ornamental interest of this or that tree in the four seasons: ideally, it will have beautiful foliage from spring to autumn, if possible a annual flowering and also a pretty silhouette even after several years. " Landscape designer Eric Leboucher adds: "You can choose a hardwood tree (and not whitewood), of local or indigenous species. Among the hardwoods, oak is known to age very well but it will need to grow in a very large garden. Beech can also live for many years. "

What tree in a small garden?

"In small gardens, we often find the ultra-classic olive tree, explains Frédéric Rochette from, and not only in the south of France! It has the advantage of not taking up too much space, it cuts well and can live for several hundred years if taken care of. It has only one requirement: keep its roots dry because it hates humidity, whether planted in Paris or Lille; ideally, plant it on a bed of pebbles and it will even withstand temperatures down to -10/12 degrees (only eastern France is to be avoided). Protect it in winter with a winter veil and a mulch , in case of extreme cold forecast ". It is a very strong tree if these details are respected! It does not have a large root development, and the size of its crown of leaves allows it to be left close to the house.
In a Parisian garden, it is ingenious to opt for fastigied varieties such as tulip trees: why not a Liriodendron Fastigiata tulip tree with beautiful autumn colors, a pretty silhouette, and even an annual flowering? It looks like a standard tulip tree, but its foliage measures only 2m to 2.40m maximum. Also think of fruit trees: pear, apple, cherry, apricot ... There are some pretty decorative apple trees, even if their lifespan is a little shorter. Be careful though, you need a pollinator tree, so plant two apple trees side by side so that they produce fruit. As for the cherry trees with fruit, they become very large, and the leaves of the plum tree are not very aesthetic… In the Center and the North of France, the varieties of apple trees Evereste and Coccinella, with fall colors and pretty flowering, will be happy. The prunus Amanogawa is a decorative apple tree, with a spindle of 1.40m in diameter and 5 to 6m high. As for the cherry tree that flowers in winter, the prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis, it is interesting near a terrace to shade it thanks to its parasol shape with a diameter of about 5 meters.
In a Mediterranean climate on the other hand, the olive tree or the lilac of the Indies will grow at best.

What tree in a bigger garden?

In the Paris region, private gardens generally do not exceed 600-800m2, and this is enough to plant a beautiful tree. You will undoubtedly like the Asian lime Tilia henryana, whose serrated foliage is superb with its pink color in spring. "It is a tree that plays with light, with a fragrant flowering from August until the late season, and that feeds bees!", Emphasizes Sonja Gauron. In the south of the Loire, Frédéric Rochette advises the very elegant umbrella pine, which can become very large because its roots are traceable: it is better not to plant it near a wall or a swimming pool! And he doesn't like humidity. In almost all of France (except the North and East), you can plant the Provence cypress, a very straight and fine tree which resists cold well, but which does not like humidity either (as for olive tree, provide a draining planting hole with pebbles). "In supermarkets or garden centers, ask that it not come from seedlings, specifies Frédéric Rochette, otherwise it grows quickly but… twisted! Ask for plants from grafts to be more resistant". In a very large garden, we also like cedar (from Lebanon or Alsace). It exceeds 20 meters and can be sold under several designations. It is planted everywhere provided that the soil is well drained, and supports limestone and severe droughts. He can live up to 600 years, it is your great-grandchildren who will see him as an adult. Another possibility is the splendid flowering magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). There are several varieties, some of which live up to 200 years and grow more than 10 meters. Its annual summer flowering is very fragrant. It needs to be planted in full sun, as well as moisture in the soil, because it is a plant from North America. Large, even very large gardens can also accommodate conifers, such as yew trees (often called millennial yew trees), Sequoia gigantea which can reach 40 or even 50m, Lebanon cedar. Finally on the shrub side, we like the rhododendrons, which age very well for several hundred years and some of which can even go up to 5m, to look like real small trees! In the same style, other plants of acid soil such as camellia, andromedes and azaleas for example age very well. Finally, if you can afford the luxury of choosing an oak, opt not for the classic but rather for a scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea): "Its foliage is very beautiful, cut, scarlet red in autumn and it will last for generations" , specifies Sonja Granjon.
In her book, Brigitte Lapouge also offers, in the countryside, the Montpellier maple, the "champion of poor and stony soils", the Judas tree, the mulberry with plane tree leaves (which grows very quickly!), The mountain ash or albizzia also called silk tree.

Tips for planting my tree

"Dig a deep hole of minimum 60 to 80cm on at least 1 meter in diameter, describes Sonja Granjon. Have organic bottom fertilizer like brown gold (decomposed manure); the fertilizer will feed the tree in the duration. Then add soil that you have on the spot. You can enrich it just a little if your soil is poor, with leaf mold, and mix well for a good start. You can also support the young tree with a stake for the first years, to be posed at the same time as the planting; to slide as close as possible to the trunk between the roots so as not to damage it. If your tree is delivered in a clod, proceed with a guying. Finally, offer him a good watering which allows to soak the root ball and the root in order to avoid air pockets. Then once the water is well drained, give him a good mulching will ensure his good health: the bark chips are the best choice for trees because they take a long time to decompose and I will also enrich the earth. I also like the Fibralgo® product, these are crushed bark chips mixed with algae… A little wonder! It will have to be renewed regularly because it promotes the work of microorganisms, and apply it in a layer of 8-10 cm ". Then, there is almost nothing more to do except ... watch your tree grow!

How far from the house?

If in Italy, olive trees are very close to houses, this is a possible exception thanks to their poor root development! Overall, it takes a tree in space, and in general, it is important to respect the diameter of the adult tree, and adapt according to the species chosen. For example, the prunus is not very high, so it will not be annoying at the level of the shadows cast; moreover, it is not an aggressive tree for foundations and pipes at the root level. If you want to protect yourself from vis-à-vis, you can dare the magnolia grandiflora Purpan very close to your windows or your terrace: with a diameter of 2.40m, this fastigié has all the qualities of magnolia, and will reward you a magnificent white and fragrant flowering from the end of August, for many years! And at the bottom of the garden, keep a distance of at least 2 meters from the neighboring plantations. "If this is not possible and you have a very precise choice, it is also possible to nanify your tree ... but it is quite an art!" Smiles Eric Leboucher.

For the well-being of my tree, some additional advice…

Know that all plants from seedlings have a better longevity than a grafted or cuttings tree, so it is better to buy seeds, plants from seedlings: an apple seed will give a tree that will last 50 to 70 years. If it is not from a seed, the life of your tree will be shorter. Sonja Gauron is also positioned against treatments: "I always advise not to treat to let natural predators come! These trees are not very prone to diseases, and you should know that aphids attract wildlife, so leave them, birds and insects will enjoy it. " Finally, anticipate well the size of the tree at maturity, under penalty of ending up cutting it because it takes up all the space ... And it would still be a shame! Learn more: During the event "Paroles de Jardiniers", Sonja will lead workshops on three Saturdays, giving advice in her garden to learn how to develop a body of water in the form of a biotope. Workshop € 5 / person, reservation compulsory from April on // or on 01 39 07 85 02. -A read: The Living Earth Guide - Planning and flowering your garden , by Brigitte Lapouge-Déjean and Denis Pépin, € 35. Our garden and gardening videos