No one will ever know how many trees were flattened or ripped apart by the snow storm this past February. Nearly every homeowner with a yard in Douglas County lost trees.

I had seven pine trees more than 25 years old go down from the weight of the snow, and I had limbs torn off of another five large trees. So much damage was caused in our county by those two days in February that tree care companies don’t expect to clear up the backlog of damage until the end of 2019.

If you are fortunate enough to have your landscape cleaned up and thinking about replacing your lost trees, fall is a great time of the year to plant. Most deciduous nursery trees will be losing their leaves in late October or early November, and nearly all conifers are at their most dormant stage in October.

With our cooler than normal temperatures this fall I notice deciduous trees are showing signs of early dormancy with their colorful leaf display. This should allow nurseries to start digging their trees within the next month.

If you decide to plant a new tree this fall, a potted or balled and burlap tree is a good choice, but it is important to follow a few basic guidelines.

When deciding on a new location in your yard, remember to look up for power lines and to set back at least 20 feet from driveways or sidewalks to minimize lifting of the cement. Be at least 50 feet away from your house to minimize root damage to your foundation and potential limb drop damage to your home.

When placing the root ball in the ground leave the top of the ball slightly above ground level. That will ensure you do not plant the tree too deeply. Potted trees should be planted at about the same level as they came in the pot.

Before planting your new trees, think about positioning them in your yard to provide the best shade for the south and west sides of your home. Trees that provide afternoon shade to your home will have the greatest impact at lowering your energy use for air conditioning.

Trees should also be positioned to provide shade to a deck or patio to enhance the comfort of those outdoor living areas

If you plan ahead now and plant deciduous shade trees that lose their leaves in the fall to the south and west of your home, your home will get the added benefit of enjoying more direct sunlight during winter. This will also help to minimize the amount of moss that grows on your roof by allowing your roof to dry out more quickly after rain events.

Well placed trees in your landscape are also welcome for shading cars on driveways. Trees are also a wonderful habitat for wildlife and do great things for our air quality.

When looking for a new shade tree, consider drought tolerant species that include both native trees and non-native species. White oak, Black oak and Big Leaf maple are all drought hardy natives that will reach 50-80 feet tall over time.

Some non-native drought hardy deciduous trees that do well in our area are Hedge maple, Hornbeam, Catalpa, Ginko, Chinese Pistache, Blue oak and Silver Linden. Most of these species reach 45-50 feet tall. These non-natives are good selections that do not reseed themselves into the wild crowding, out native species that support our local wildlife.

Red maple and Pin oak are also lovely shade trees but they will require some supplemental irrigation.

A few drought hardy conifers (evergreens) to consider would be Incense cedar, Deodar cedar, Atlas cedar, Ponderosa pine and Western red cedar.

Planting in the fall or early winter provides an important period of time for all trees to establish their root system before our long dry summer sets in. All young trees will grow much better with some supplemental irrigation during the first few summers after planting if available.

Too learn more about tree selection and planting visit or call the Master Gardener clinic at the OSU Extension office in Roseburg.

Steve Renquist is the Horticulture Extension Agent for OSU Extension Service of Douglas County. To contact the Master Gardeners use douglasmg@oregonstate.edu or phone at 541-672-4461.

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