Trees are woody plants that typically have a single trunk. They can range in size from a couple of metres to forest giants. Deciduous trees typically lose their foliage in winter, whereas evergreens hold their foliage year-round. Some are grown for their colourful flowers or foliage, while others have interesting bark, seed capsules or fruit.
Trees provide shade, structure and form in a garden, as well as habitats for numerous birds, bugs and other wildlife. They can be grown as single specimens in lawns or incorporated into mixed plantings. When selecting trees for smaller gardens, take care to choose those that will not grow too large or cause other problems.
Visit our Urban Trees garden to see some great examples.
What to grow
There are many tree species to choose from, both tall and short. Tree selection is critical. Poor choices can lead to costly damage or tree removal. Look around your neighbourhood (or here at the Auckland Botanic Gardens) for trees to check their mature size and any problems they might present.
Visit our 'Plants for Auckland' database for the most suitable trees to grow in Auckland.
How to plant
- Trees are best planted in autumn when the soil is still warm, but rain is plentiful.
- Always plant at the same depth as they are in the container.
- Select your site carefully as once trees become large, it is difficult to move them.
- In heavy soils, add compost prior to planting.
- Apply a balanced fertiliser at planting and water in, then add a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
- Stake taller trees when planting to stop the wind from damaging or snapping them.
How to grow
- Most trees (excluding fruit trees) require little pruning. However, as trees mature, they may require pruning to keep them in check and remain safe.
- An annual application of a balanced fertiliser in autumn or spring is beneficial along with mulching around the base.
Top image: Pompom tree (Dais cotinifolia)