Before finalizing your choice from the many trees that grow well in Regina, you should ask yourself the amount of space required for the tree, along with growing conditions in your yard and how it will compliment your yard.
Determine what space is available and how large a tree can fit in it. Even though your tree is small now, the location chosen should be far enough away from other plants and buildings to accommodate a fully-grown tree. If you live on the corner or adjacent to a street or road, Traffic Bylaw No. 9900 has specific guidelines to ensure your yard's plants - including trees - do not impair or block the sight lines of motorists and pedestrians.
A guideline for the amount of space a tree needs is as follows:
- 8 m between crab apples, cherries (Prunus), spruce, and any other ornamental tree species.
- 10 m between shade trees such as maple, ash, elm, linden, willows, poplar and birch.
- 4 -5 m away from buildings, side yards, driveways, and walkways so growing tree limbs have room to spread and not interfere with these areas.
- a minimum of 4.5 m from the City sidewalk, again so growing trees limbs have room to spread.
- a minimum of 2.5 to 3 m away from underground utility lines (gas, power, telephone/cable lines) and the water curb box valve. This distance provides enough space so the tree should not have to be removed if these lines/valves need to be upgraded or replaced.
As well, you should avoid planting tall-growing trees in areas where there are utility wires or other overhead obstructions. Remember you cannot plant trees on City property in the front of or side yards around your home. To plant on City property, you need approval from the Parks & Open Space department.
Examine the types of growing conditions present in your yard and select trees that can grow in those conditions. To help you determine growing conditions, ask yourself:
- What kind of soil do I have (type, depth, and quality of soil)? Certain trees prefer certain soil conditions.
- What are the drainage patterns are in my yard? Does water stand in low areas after a rain? Do I have access to water to water your tree? Different trees are suited to dry soil conditions, while others prefer wet conditions.
- Is there shade or sun in my yard? Again, some trees prefer full sun while others prefer shaded areas.
Complement your yard
Once you have assessed your site and know what varieties of trees can grow in your yard, you can begin to narrow down your choices to find the perfect tree for your yard. To help you, ask yourself if there is a particular purpose for having a tree:
- To increase the aesthetics of your yard Determine what characteristics you would like the tree to have: its shape, colour, texture, blooms, and fruit (if applicable.) Then ensure your tree is in scale with its surroundings. Use small or medium-sized varieties for smaller houses and yards. On any site, put smaller trees near the house and taller ones farther out in the yard or at its edge.
- To create shade to reduce cooling costs Visit the Shand Greenhouse's and read about Landscaping For Energy Efficiency. In Regina's climate, an ash or basswood are good choices for shade trees.
- To block wind to reduce heating costs Visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for tips and ideas.
- To create privacy or to block an unpleasant view Determine if you want a year-round screen or one only for summer. If you want a year-round screen, use evergreen trees and shrubs like spruce trees or cedars which retain their foliage in every season. If you want a summer screen, choose deciduous trees and shrubs which lose their leaves in the fall.
- To attract birds and beneficial insects to your yard Beneficial birds, insects, and animals play an important role in your "IPM toolkit" to reduce pesticide use in your yard.
Finally, you must ensure your tree can survive Regina's harsh climate. Regina is generally considered to be Zone 2B, so anything rated Zone 1 or 2 can grow here. For more information about different growing zones in Canada, visit Agriculture Canada's Canadian Zone Map.