An Urban Tree Care Conference
January 30th & 31st, 2020

The first step in selecting a new tree is to study the site where it will be planted. How much space will the tree have, both above ground (look for overhead utility lines, etc.) and below ground? Don’t try to put a large-maturing tree in a small space, it will ultimately be a disappointment. Soil type matters to some degree, as some species tolerate poor drainage (like in a clay soil) better than others; of course, soil compaction matters as well. If the area is compacted, break up the compaction physically (pick and shovel, backhoe, etc.). There are no chemicals that will reverse compaction, it has to be done physically.

Once you have assessed the site, consider species choices. Look for one that matures to a size that fits the site. Take into account any preferences you have for overall shape, as well – do you want a tall, narrow accent tree, or a low, broad shade tree? Are there other aesthetic aspects you want – spring or summer flowers, good fall color, etc.? You can review some species information by studying the City of Albuquerque Master Tree and Plant List [PDF]. There are also some very informative plant books available, some with a very local focus. Many of the plant nurseries can make good recommendations; however, they may carry species that simply aren’t well adapted here, so check their suggestions against the Master List and/or books. 

Book resources: