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Whether you want privacy from a busy street and noisy neighbors or you just want to create a woodland wonder around your home, you can turn your yard into a virtual forest by choosing trees and plants that grow well in your area. Planting woods in your yard isn’t difficult if your soil is conducive to plant growth but there are things to consider before you grab your shovel.
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Get permission, if required. In most places, a homeowner can plant any sort of tree in his yard without repercussions. However, some communities restrict planting in easements or underneath power lines. In addition, if you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association, get permission in writing beforehand or the association might later vote to make you cut down your woods.
Sketch the design for your yard before you start planting. Make provisions for paths or sidewalks and for any other objects you want in your yard. As the trees grow, the view from your home will change as well as your yard, so think ahead and plan your planting area carefully.
Prepare the soil in which to grow your woods. If you have a typical lawn right now, the soil is probably fertile to the depth of a few inches. While you can plant your trees in it, the soil in most woods is thick with composted organic material, allowing new tree roots to develop quickly. If your soil is packed or clay-based, consider bringing in a large amount of compost and mixing it into the existing soil.
Choose your trees by determining which ones are indigenous to your area. That just means you should pick trees that grow naturally where you live. In addition, most woods or forests have trees of an upright as opposed to a spreading nature. It’s your choice, but by planting trees that grow tall instead of wide, such as poplars and aspens, the view from the ground will appear more wooded.
Select trees in various states of growth. Natural woods feature mature trees and saplings rising beneath the forest canopy. Select a few key trees that are as large as you can afford and transplant them in chosen areas of your yard. Fill in the spaces in-between with slightly smaller trees and, finally, plant little saplings to create a natural woods cycle.
Purchase your trees from a reforestry program or the Arbor Day Society to get quality trees at a reduced cost. These programs, often managed by state forestry departments, offer trees to the public at reduced prices. (See Resources)
Consider installing a drip irrigation system to provide water for your young trees. Once the trees become established, you may slow down or discontinue the watering to encourage a natural woodland habitat in your yard.
Add a ground cover once your woods become established. Small, spreading plants, such as vinca and various mosses and ferns, provide a soft path underneath the rising trees.
Keep your trees on your own property. Woods attract insects and small creatures. If your woods encroach upon a neighbor’s yard, you may have to remove some of your trees.