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Right Tree for the Right Place

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Trees are living beings, and as such they thrive and look their most magnificent when they are comfortable in their surroundings. Proper location planning can help you get the most from your trees while helping avoid power service interruptions and other costly mistakes. 

Each tree has its likes and dislikes: different tolerances to salt and pollution, and vastly different soil and water requirements. The first challenge is to choose a tree that is Florida-friendly in that it is well suited to our semi-tropical climate. Following that, the goal is to plant that tree in a specific location that gives it the greatest chance for survival over the long term. While we are one City, available water and the soil, as well as sun exposure and available space, differs from neighborhood to neighborhood. 

Arbor Day Foundation Tree Shape Guide

Trees planted in the wrong place also cause serious problems: clogged sewers, cracked sidewalks and blocked views leading to safety hazards. They can even dangerously conflict with overhead power lines. In addition to choosing the right tree for our climate and your conditions, you should also select a specific space that allows your tree plenty of room to spread its roots and branches. Resources such as the Arbor Day Foundation's shape guide (at right) can help.

Questions to Ask

The following is a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding which trees to plant. Knowing the answers will help guide you to a specific variety. Think about these questions, and discuss your answers with your local garden center or landscape planner. You can also consult the additional advice in this section, as well as our GYR Tree Directory, to find a perfect match. 

Right Tree Info
  • Why is this tree being planted? Is it for shade, for beauty, as a boundary, for placemaking, to provide fruit, as part of a wildlife habitat? 
  • Can the tree grow in the site you have in mind? Does it have the right salt and drought tolerance? Can you dig a deep enough hole to properly hold the tree in place?
  • Will the tree's root structure cause any damage in the future?
  • What will be the ultimate height, spread and shape of the tree? Are there buildings, signs or power lines in the way? What shape will work best for your intended location?
  • Will the tree be hardy and flexible enough to withstand tropical storms, heavy rains or strong winds?
  • Which would serve you best: a deciduous or evergreen tree?
  • Can the tree add to your energy savings by being positioned to shade certain windows, your HVAC unit, etc.?
  • Are there existing tree regulations or other ordinances which might affect your selection?

More Information 

ArborDayFoundationArbor Day Foundation - The Right Tree in the Right Place

Browse this website for useful tools to help you elect and locate your trees. Size and shape guides, as well as a fun quiz point you to just the right tree. You can also read more about placement.in the Tree City USA Bulletin #4: "The Right Tree for the Right Place."  We have limited paper copies of this bulletin. If you would like this bulletin mailed to you, contact the City's Urban Forester Mark Williams at (954) 828-5785 or MAwilliams@fortlauderdale.gov.

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