The wrong tree on the wrong site can be more of a liability then an asset. Selecting the right tree for a particular site is one of the most important decisions to ensure long-term benefits, beauty and satisfaction.
Adaptability: The tree species genetic ability to adjust to different conditions. Some trees are more adaptable then others. Some species are found all over the country while others only grow in specific locations.
Acclimation: The process by which a given tree adapts to its environment. Physiological changes- internal (such as chemical ) Morphological changes- external (larger leaves, thicker bark)
Site analysis is a record of the pertinent existing site conditions that will effect site selection. This information is compared to the functional goals (what you want to achieve with the planting) allowing for the appropriate selection of trees.
Site Considerations Planting site : utilities (overhead and under ground), buildings, sidewalks, paved surfaces, intersections, plans for future development Water availability : type of soil, run off, surface type, too much (down spout, low area) Soil : pH, nutrients, salts, drainage, compaction soil texture, bulk density,CEC, soil volume Light levels : too much, too little, reflection, artificial
Tree species considerations Growth Rate : Fast growing trees are often tolerant of poor soil conditions and neglect BUT, often have weak wood that breaks and decays easily and are short-lived Size at Maturity: height, spread, root zone requirements Growth Habit/Form Insect and Disease Resistance: different from immunity
Other questions Where did the genetics come from? Is the seed source of the tree from within your hardiness zone? Nursery conditions where the tree is grown: Was it an upland or lowland nursery? Does it match the planting site. Does the tree have factors that make it a liability? thorns? messy fruit? attract bees?