The first and most important step when taking on a tree-planting project is to choose the tree species that will meet your needs as well as have a good chance of surviving in the spot you intend to plant them.
Which trees you should plant depends on both the characteristics of your land as well as aesthetic considerations like desired tree shape. This 4-step wizard from the Arbor Day Foundation asks some simple questions, then uses your answers to recommend tree species for your site.
Arbor Day’s Tree Wizard includes a lot of non-native trees. If you want to focus on natives, consider this alternate database from the Audubon Society. Enter your zip code, and the site suggests native plants for your area. Choose “trees” after searching to focus your search.
Want to learn more about a tree before you buy one? Type in the kind of tree you’re interested in on this link, and the Arbor Day Foundation gives you information about its growth, soil and sunlight needs, and wildlife value.
When you’re ready to buy trees, the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Nursery store lets you purchase seedlings. Entering your zip code will help you narrow down trees to those that can survive in your land’s climate.
If you’re looking for a local tree source, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a good way to find them. Their National Suppliers Directory lets you search for native plant nurseries by city, state, or zip code.
Another source of local trees is your county’s Soil and Water Conservation District. Many of these local offices have annual tree and shrub sales at low cost. This online map of district offices will help you locate the one closest to your land.
The best way to help pollinators is to provide more of the food that they need to survive. Native plants can support hundreds more species of pollinators than non-native ornamentals, so as much as possible, incorporate native plants into your garden and landscaping.