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Landscaping & Design/determine if trees should be kept or removed


we will be purchasing a newly constructed home from a contractor and are wondering if it is better that we instruct the backyard to be cleared from all trees (there would be no extra cost for this) and later on plant trees should we desire or if we should ask that some trees remain. Our concerns with clearing the yard completely is that new trees will not be mature thus not providing shade like a mature tree. would there indeed be benefits of an older tree versus a newer one?  On the otherhand, we are unsure if we should trust the discretion of the contractor on which trees should remain. Considering that the backyard is not that large, we would only want trees bordering very close to the properly line and not in the middle taking up too much space. Is there terminology for this? Your insight on this would be much appreciated!

Hey, Carol.

Many decades ago when I was a senior at Texas A&M University, my Urban Forestry class did an analysis of how valuable trees are to real estate value. Mature trees at that time were adding $25,000 to the value of property in Houston, Texas; 1976. Mature trees still do that so I would be careful about taking trees out, particularly clearing all trees.

Personally I would not trust a contractor to know anything about trees other than which trees are on sale this week at the local nursery.

If it's a newly constructed home, I would think that the mature trees would be very beneficial to the home. Here's a post on one of my blogs about planting trees strategically that might help you since I don't know what state you're in:

Once the home is built, I would work with a good landscaper to determine exactly what you want to do with your yard and trees. A good landscaper knows the right questions to ask about your goals and can point out things that I can't do from here in San Diego.

Hope this helps.


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Russel Ray


I can answer questions about water-wise landscaping, xeriscaping, and using native vegetation, cactus, and succulents to create a home paradise that won't increase your water bill.


My wise ol' grandmother got me started with cactus and succulents 42 years ago. The rest, as they say, is history.

National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Better Business Bureau of San Diego

After graduating from Texas A&M University, I started a plant-sitting business in Houston to take care of the house plants when people went on vacation. That went on for five years before I moved back to College Station and started several businesses, one of which was a landscaping business specializing in "dry" landscaping.

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