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Choosing Specimens of Optimal Size

Choosing Specimens of Optimal Size

We stock thousands of trees, but not all varieties will be available in all sizes, so establishing early on what sort of size trees you’re after is a great way to quickly get to the most relevant options.

To decide on your optimal size range, we recommend weighing up the three main factors below.


1. Need For Instant Impact

Need for Instant Impact

If your reason for planting the tree is to screen out an unsightly view before you put your house on the market, then your need for instant impact is pretty high. If you’d just like to get some autumn colour going in the garden, well… you may not mind starting with a younger tree and watching it gradually mature over the years. Whatever your planting objectives may be, it’s a good idea to work out the dimensions each tree would need to be in order to achieve them (see ‘How to Work Out Dimensions’ below), and how long you’re prepared (or able) to wait for your chosen tree(s) to reach that size.

How to Work Out Dimensions Needed to Achieve Your Planting Objectives

Effects of foreshortening and perspective can play tricks on the eye, so it’s important to use a scale reference. A large measuring stick is ideal, but it you’ve not got one to hand, a person (or even a chair) and a pencil can work almost as well. Have the person stand in your proposed planting position whilst you move around the garden, or through the house, viewing the position from several vantage points. At each vantage point, estimate the optimum height required by holding the pencil up vertically so that the tip of the pencil is level with the feet of your helper (meter stick, chair…), and then placing your thumbnail on the pencil shaft to mark where the top of his/her head reaches. Using the person’s known height, you now have a scale reference from that vantage point. Without moving the position of your thumbnail on the pencil, move the pencil along vertically to estimate the ideal height of a tree from that vantage point.

Top tip: try a few different planting positions: due to effects of perspective you will likely find that in certain positions a far smaller specimen will achieve your objectives.

2. Site Access Conditions

Although our planting teams can overcome most site access problems with careful planning, there are a few simple rules of thumb worth bearing in mind to help minimize planting costs. We’ll talk you through the process below, but please feel free to pick up the phone or drop us an email and we’ll work it all out for you.

How To Work Out the Optimum Specimen Sizes for your Site Access Conditions

1. Perform this Quick Access Assessment:
  1. Consider the approach to the site and the most logical offloading position. Note any parking or HGV access restrictions.

  2. Establish the 'minimum access width' for each planting position by walking from the intended position of offloading (usually the road or a driveway) along the path of access to each position, measuring the narrowest width of access along each path and noting any tight corners or obstacles such as steps, soft ground, overhead eaves, etc. along the access paths.

  3. If you have noted any obstacles or parking/HGV access restrictions, you may wish to ask one of our advisors to help refine the optimum size range for your specimens.
2. Click the option below which best describes your minimum access width(s) to learn how the sizes of the trees you choose may impact your planting costs.

3. Budget Considerations

You need only glance down our stocklist to see that we cater for an extremely wide range of budgets. Our advisors are here to advise, not ‘sell up’, so we’d encourage you to speak candidly to them about your budget so they can tailor their suggestions accordingly.

For example, if you’re struggling to achieve your planting objectives within your budget, they may be able to suggest faster growing varieties which will give a similar effect at a more economical cost, or find opportunities for significant savings simply by downsizing a specimen slightly to reduce planting costs.

The same applies for those in the pleasant position of having quite a generous budget to work with. We have a vast range of trees at a vast range of sizes and price ranges, so it’s very helpful for your advisor to have some idea where to start with their suggestions.