All the different terms for gardening and yard service providers can get a bit confusing, so do landscapers plants trees – or is that specialist arborists?
Both generalist landscapers and arborists (tree specialists) can help you plant trees in your yard, but it’s the arborist that can help with ongoing tree maintenance and assist you with questions about rare breeds and their care. Arborists are also certified for tree removal.
Let’s dig down (excuse the pun!) into this topic in more depth, and discover the difference between landscapers and arborists, find out what types of trees are good to plant in your garden and which ones aren’t – and also consider how much tree planting costs…
What’s The Difference Between Landscapers & Arborists?
An arborist is a type of landscaper who specializes in trees. Your landscaper can certainly incorporate trees and shrubs into your garden design, and they can plant and maintain them, too. However, for any more specialist tree needs, call for an arborist.
Arborists are dedicated landscapers for trees. If you have a mature tree that needs pruning, treating, or even felling, hire an arborist. As well as being the experts in all things tree-related, they should also have the necessary certification for tasks such as tree removal.
Do you need an arborist to design your garden if it involves trees, and should they be the ones to plant them? Honestly, no, you don’t. A generalist landscaper will be able to do this; however, if you have a grand tree planting scheme or are thinking of introducing some more unusual species, ask an arborist for advice.
Does Landscaping Include Planting Trees? (Can I Hire Someone To Plant Trees?)
In general, landscaping does involve planting trees, and your landscaper will have tended to plenty over the years. You could also engage an arborist; however, they will tend only to the trees, so if you have other landscaping tasks, go for a more generalist landscaper.
The main takeaway here is that trees aren’t always easy to plant. They can be pretty fussy, and different species have very different needs. So, whether you hire a specialist or ask your landscaper to plant the trees, the important thing is to use an expert.
What Types of Trees Do Landscapers & Arborists Plant?
Landscapers and arborists can help you with a wide range of trees, and also advise on which species will thrive in your soil and climate. It’s worth doing your research or hiring an expert before you spend $300 on a large palm that will panic at the first sign of a heavy frost.
An arborist is the best person to consult when you’re trying to decide which tree(s) to plant in your yard. They should be able to deal with any type of tree, whether you want a whole orchard of apple trees or simply an elegant acer to cast some dappled shade.
For inspiration, here are some of the most popular trees in the US:
- Douglas fir
- Quaking aspen
- Red maple
- White oak
- Sugar maple
- Loblolly pine
To find out which of these beautiful trees is best for your yard, it’s back to our old friend, the plant hardiness zone map. This tells you the category of your region’s climate, which gives you a broad idea of whether your tree of choice will thrive in your garden.
How Much Does It Cost To Have Trees Planted?
How much does it cost to plant a tree? Well, this depends on the size and type of your tree and how much work is involved.
Trees themselves tend to start at around $50 (this is for a small, immature specimen), or you could go cheaper if you buy a bare-root sapling. Large, more mature trees can cost anything up to $500.
So that’s the tree. What about the costs? Many landscapers will charge by the hour, so the easier the job, the cheaper it will be. Landscapers typically charge anything between $25 and $60 per hour, so again, it’s hard to give an exact cost.
We’d advise you to allow at least two hours for a single tree planting, and considerably more if it’s a large tree. A mature tree may need two people to manage it, and the landscaper or arborist may need more specialist equipment to maneuver your large tree into position.
Once in the ground, a healthy tree can be pretty low maintenance. It’s worth paying for help at the start, to give your new tree the best start in life.
Can I Plant Trees Near To My House?
You can plant small trees close to your house, but only if you’re sure they won’t do any damage. As a tree grows, its roots spread out under the ground, and this can cause structural damage to your home’s foundations. Here’s a cautionary tale about how tree roots can grow and spread…
You may also find that your insurer has regulations about the positions of trees relative to any buildings on your property: it’s definitely worth checking this out.
While it’s lovely having trees near your home, you really do have to take into account damage caused by their roots. You may also want to factor in whether branches will pose a problem, and what would happen to your house if the tree were to be blown down or fall down.
To find out more about the problems of trees that are literally too close to home, read our article about taking down trees next to houses.
What Sort of Trees Should I Never Plant in My Yard?
So we know not to plant trees that aren’t suited to your climate, and that large trees can cause structural damage to your home. There are also good reasons why some species simply aren’t right for gardens. Avoid planting these species:
- Lombardy poplar: grows quickly, but is prone to pests and dies after about 15 years, leaving you with a large tree to dispose of and a sudden gap in your garden
- Red oak: lovely, but messy. There;s be leaves, acorns and catkins everywhere
- Ginkgo biloba: pretty, but its fruit smells like vomit
- Mimosa: this is wrong for so many reasons. It’s prone to ill health, has invasive roots, and sheds its seeds everywhere. The neighbors won’t be happy…
- Bradford pear: quick growing and beautiful, so far so good. But, you’ll have to hold your nose every time you pass it, because its flowers stink
- Cottonwood: this gorgeous tree is simply too big for most yards. Plus, it scatters those cottony things everywhere
- Norway maple: attractive and fast-growing, but again it will attempt to self-seed everywhere, and you’ll be pulling up seedlings all the time. As will your entire block…
Top things to look out for? Smell and mess, which frankly, makes the tree sound like an unruly puppy. These traits are fine with a puppy as they’ll grow out of them. Not so fine with a tree, which will simply get worse as it grows.
What Trees Make a Good Privacy Hedge? (And How Long Will It Take To Grow?)
If you want to create a lovely, neutral screen around your yard, there are some evergreen trees and shrubs that make fantastic privacy hedges.
Here are some species to think about:
- Leyland cypress: the classic. It reaches 60 feet if left unattended, so be prepared for regular pruning. A young specimen will grow 4 feet a year. Gulp.
- Lawson cypress: a bit smaller, at 40 feet! Don’t worry: it takes 37 years to reach this height.
- Red cedar: these trees reach 30 feet. Plant them 8 feet apart for a hedge (needs a big garden). They grow up to 2 feet each year.
- Bamboo: this provides a fast-growing and attractive screen. Choose a clumping variety or it’ll spread like crazy. Depending on the species, bamboo grows between 1 and 5 feet per year. Problems occur when it spreads outwards as well as upwards.
- Privet: a classic hedge that grows quickly, up to 3 feet a year. Invest in good pruners.
- Holly: looks, good, you can cut sprigs for holiday decorations, and it keeps out unwanted intruders. It’s slower growing, at up to 5 or 6 inches a year.
So I hope this article helps you understand the difference between the work of a general landscaper and arborist a little better.
At the time of writing we’ve got loads of landscaping scheduled in for our driveway and backyard – so we want to make sure when we move the trees we want to keep that we’re doing it properly.
I guess in this context the next call we make should be to a specialist arborist if we want to get the job done right. 🙂