Tree Selection and Establishment

There are many benefits to growing a tree on your property and here at the City of Ryde Council we have put together a few helpful tips to make your tree selection and planting easier.

To select the most appropriate tree for your property read our Before You Choose A Tree section. When you are ready to get planting go to How Do I Plant A Tree? on this page, for instructions on starting and managing this process.

Council's Tree Management Officers have put together a list of suggested tree species for the Ryde area including trees endemic (trees naturally occurring in the region), natives and exotics, that can be planted on properties. To view these tree lists, click here.  

Before you Choose a Tree

Consider the following questions to help you find the best suited tree for your property and needs.

  1. What size tree can my property support?
  2. Where should I plant a tree on my property?
  3. Does the immediate and surrounding environment impact the type of tree I should choose?
  4. What is the purpose of the tree on my property?
  5. Do I need to care for the tree after planting?

Question 1 - What size tree can my property support?

If you have a larger property with some open space, a large tree may be a great option. If you have a smaller property, a more compact tree may be more suitable. Think about how the canopy of a tree will affect your property in terms of shade, leaf fall, neighbouring properties and so forth as this will also help in your selection.

Question 2 - Where should I plant a tree on my property?

A useful starting point is to draw a sketch plan of your property showing:

  • The orientation of your land (North, South, East or West)
  • The location of buildings, driveways and paths
  • The location of services, such as electrical wires and underground pipes.

In making your tree selection remember to also consider the following:

  • Overshadowing
  • Privacy
  • Potential effects on services such as electrical wires, underground pipes, driveways etc from roots and branches
  • The potential mature size of the tree and the effect on your property neighbour's property. 

Remember, a neighbour is within his/her rights to request pruning for branches overhanging the common boundary. This may leave you with a less than pleasing shape to your tree if you plant it in an inappropriate position.  

Question 3 - Does the immediate and surrounding environment impact the type of tree I should choose?

Yes. The type of soil in your area and the weather conditions that trees are exposed to will also impact on your options. For example:

  • If your property has clay soil and is in a damp area, the choice of species would be quite different to a waterfront location with sandy soils.
  • If your property is regularly exposed to winds, such as those on the waterfront or on ridges, you would require a different species to those in protected areas, such as gullies.

Write down these sorts of details on your plan to assist your adviser. 

Question 4 - What is the purpose of the tree on my property?

Think about the following questions:

  • Are you planting a tree to provide shade? If so, do you require shade all year round or only in summer?
  • Are you trying to stabilise a sloping site or ‘dry–up’ a damp area in the yard?
  • Are you seeking a centrepiece or focal point to your landscaping design?
  • Are you keen to attract wildlife to your garden? And if so, what type of wildlife (insects, birds, reptiles, animals)

By understanding what you want to achieve, an advisor can suggest species that will be most likely to meet your expectations.

Question 5 - Do I need to care for the tree after planting?

Newly planted trees do need care to ensure they have the best chance of establishing on your property. Watering regularly, maintaining the mulch circle around the base of the tree, keeping the whipper snipper at a safe distance away form the tree and creating an ongoing maintenance schedule will increase these chances. 

Tree maintenance schedule

Water regularly

Watering is the most important thing you can do for your tree. Newly planted trees must be watered regularly for the first two to three years: use a standard nine (9) litre watering can; water trees twice a week in summer and once a week in winter.

Maintain the mulch circle around the base of the tree

Mulch helps retain soil moisture, reduces competition from weeds and adds nutrient to the soil. Keep in mind that: the circle needs to be slightly clear of the trunk, no more than 75 mm high; hardwood chips are ideal; grass clippings are NOT suitable for mulch as they burn the roots; keep the circle free from weeds and grass.

Ongoing care

All trees, regardless of species, require maintenance. Council strongly advises residents to have a maintenance program for all of their trees and to act upon it. This should involve regular inspections by a qualified Arborist or Horticulturist. Many problems need never arise if maintenance programs are instigated and actioned. Some companies may give a discount on work if you group together with your neighbours and it is a good way of protecting your property and reducing any potential risk of damage.

Protect the tree from mower and whipper snipper damage

Take care when mowing grass around newly planted street trees to ensure you don't damage the bark around the base of the tree. The mulch circle will help protect the trunk by keeping mowers and whipper snippers clear. View the How to care for your tree(PDF, 386KB) flyer .

How do I plant the tree?

Part 6 of the City of Ryde Tree Management Technical Manual (TMTM) provides a detailed guide for tree selection and tree planting. You will find information about handling trees, digging the planting hole, staking and mulching and much more.

For more information, view Part 6 - Replacement Planting of the TMTM.