How do I select a tree?

You want to select the "right tree for the right place". Before selecting a tree, you need to answer some questions. Do you want the tree to provide shade, fruit, or seasonal color, or act as a windbreak or screen? Does space lend itself to a large, medium, or small tree? Are there overhead or belowground wires or utilities in the vicinity? Do you need to consider clearance for sidewalks, patios or driveways? Are there other trees in the area? Is the soil deep, fertile, and well-drained, or is it shallow, compacted, and infertile?

Based on your answers to those questions, review publications (such as Waterwise South Florida Landscapes, on the internet at and available in hard copy at no charge from the South Florida Water Management District) to determine which species of tree will best meet your needs. Once you select a species, you will need to select a high-quality tree at the nursery.

 A high-quality tree has:

  • Sound roots that grow outwards from the trunk to support healthy growth
  • A trunk free of mechanical wounds and wounds from incorrect pruning
  • A strong form with well-spaced, firmly attached branches

A low-quality tree has:

  • Crushed or circling roots in a small root ball or small container
  • A trunk with wounds from mechanical impacts or incorrect pruning
  • A weak form in which multiple stems squeeze against each other or branches squeeze against the trunk

Show All Answers

1. How do I select a tree?
2. How do I plant a tree?
3. How do I hire an Arborist?
4. How do you prune a tree?
5. Removing a tree?