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You Can Grow It: Trees you can plant for Arbor Day in Idaho

Whether you are in a new home, or ready to replace or redo your landscaping, this weekend is the perfect time to plant trees. KTVB has local options for Arbor Day.

BOISE, Idaho — Friday is Arbor Day in Idaho, so for this edition of You Can Grow It, KTVB Garden Master Jim Duthie provides a few tree varieties you may want to consider planting in your own yard.

The original Arbor Day dates back to April 10, 1872, in Nebraska, when nearly a million trees were planted that day. While Arbor Day is not observed as widely as it used to be, it is a reminder that planting trees provides us with beauty, value and clean air. 

Whether you are in a new home, or ready to replace or redo your landscaping, this weekend is the perfect time to plant trees. 

To learn more about tree options, Duthie set off to FarWest Landscape and Garden Center, where he caught up with Dennis Fix.

While everything is rather slow this year budding out, and we would normally have buds and leaves on all of the tree options, we will eventually get there with warmer weather on the way. One particular tree to consider is the redbud.

"This is a relatively new introduction, it’s called a Ruby Falls redbud. It is probably my favorite small structure tree that we have," Fix said. "This guy has got a wonderful lavender flower on it, which is just about ready to break open. It’s hard to see yet, but it’s going to be open in about a week to ten days.” 

The heart-shaped leaves will stay a rich, dark burgundy color all summer, sometimes with a little bit of green. Since it only grows about 6-feet tall and 4-feet wide, its compact size is great for small yards.

Credit: KTVB

If you have a very small yard and want something just as a specimen on the corner or near the house – but not taking over the yard – fix has another option in a columnar-shaped tree that takes less room.

“That’s exactly what it is, it’s another new introduction. This one’s been done by First Editions. It’s coming out with a birch tree that’s not going to overgrow your yard. So, this one is called Parkland Pillar," Fix said. "He’s a columnar tree, so again, only in that 6-to-8 feet-wide range. He’s going to go up to around 20 to 25 feet. He’s got a little bit of a red bark right now, but as he gets older he’s going to turn into that really white bark.”

Credit: KTVB

May white bark birch trees in Boise have had problems with the birch bore, but this variety is bred to be resistant to it. 

Credit: KTVB

They are very hardy, do well in our soils, and he's got a green leaf in the summer, but he gets a beautiful golden fall color. It also works perfectly with what Fix was saying, in a nice tight corner. People can use the tree as a single specimen in a corner, or you could actually use them as hedge to block off something. 

If people want a little more color all year long, deciduous trees are great. However, another good example of an evergreen is a weeping spruce. 

“It is. It’s a weeping white spruce. It’s got, again, a columnar theme that we’ve been talking about, keeping in line with our newer introductions, and in our smaller yard applications," Fix said. "This guy fits the bill in both ways. He gives us something that has a really graceful, elegant accent look to him, but he stays within balance, so again we’ll get a little bit taller. He has a nice central leader to him, but he’s just going to kind of weep over and weep over. He has this beautiful skirt on him that comes back down, and it gives us that year-round interest.”

Credit: KTVB

The spruce above is hardy, durable and can handle wide extremes in temperatures. It likes consistently-moist soil, but not too wet. This is also a very popular choice around Christmas time. 

Another option everybody loves is maple trees, which are a great specimen tree. One with a fantastic name is the Sun Valley Maple.

"It sounds like it comes from Idaho. It doesn’t come from Idaho, but it is a very great tree. I love this tree," Fix said. "It’s a little smaller structured overall. A lot of maples are really big, and with our small yards, this one will fit into a little bit smaller yard.”

Credit: KTVB

The maple above will grow about 30-feet tall and 25-feet wide, with green leaves in the summer. 

Those leaves will turn a brilliant red color in the fall, making it a great option for multiple seasons. 

"One of its greatest attributes is it’s a seedless variety. So, as a kid, everybody played with the little seeds, the little helicopters that came down, and we loved that," Fix said. "But as adults, when we’re blowing those off our streets, our sidewalks, our cars, it gets a little annoying. So, they’ve finally come up with a variety that has no seeds to it.”

FarWest on West State Street in Boise has all of the trees discussed, so you can come out, take a look at them, and get an idea of what they are going to look like in your yard. Do not forget about Arbor Day this weekend!

Early spring and late fall are the best times of the year to plant trees in Idaho. You can also find a large variety of trees ready to plant and get professional advice at local garden centers throughout southern Idaho.

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