When a friend told me he was considering planting two trees to celebrate the birth of his friends' new baby twins, I must admit I swooned. Birth-trees! Such a sweet idea, but there are a few things to consider...
If you're thinking of planting a tree to celebrate welcoming a child into your family (or your loved ones' family), here are a few things to think about:
The ultimate size of the tree. It might look a cute and teeny now, but in 30 years that little tree could be crowding your driveway or blocking all the windows on one side of your house. If it does get huge, is it the sort of tree you'll be able to shape as needed, or will it look silly with a haircut?
The placement of the tree. Again, a mature tree will cast a lot more shade than expected, affecting the rest of your yard and garden, so plant accordingly. If it is a fruit tree, you'll want to be sure it won't end up dropping fruit in highly inconvenient locations.
What will you do if the tree dies? A child might naturally feel very attached to his or her tree, so what is the plan if the tree doesn't make it? Will you plant another of the same type? Will you try to match the size of the original tree by planting a larger, more mature (and more expensive) tree? Will you talk it over with your child and see what they prefer to do? Maybe they'd like a birthday butterfly bush or tulip bed?
What will you do if you move? Transplanting trees can be a very tricky business, and much will depend on how long the tree has been in its place. You'll want to consult your local reputable nursery for advice, but there's a good chance that moving the tree will be impossible. Will you plant a new one at your new home? Or perhaps try take your child to look at their tree every year to see how it's progressing?
For those of you who have planted trees for your children (or are simply tree experts), are there any other factors to consider?