Decisions like choosing the right tree for the golf course are as important as buying the right Jacobsen golf course mowers and other golf course turf equipment. It requires a thorough knowledge of trees and sincere involvements of the superintendent, green committee, agrologist, arborist and other golf course officials. They have to be on the same page.

There are numerous factors to be considered while choosing the right species of tree. Some of the important factors include:

  • Growth characteristics
  • Pest tolerance
  • Site adaptability
  • Fertilizer, trimming and other needs

Apart from these, there are several other positive and negative qualities of tree you must consider.

There are sources of information that can help in making an informed tree selection. You can visit the websites of:

  • The National Arbor Day Foundation
  • The Urban Horticultural Institute

Native or non-native

There are several other tree databases available on the internet. You can learn about tree species that are appropriate for the site conditions. The complete information related to trees can also be found on the websites of commercial nurseries. You can make the best selection by working with experienced nurserymen, landscape designers and experienced arborists. Their professional expertise will be of great help.  

Needless to say, you should prefer native tree species. Non-native trees can pose an ecological threat to the native trees in your golf course. Visit the website of The USDA National Invasive Species Information Center to learn about the trees that are native to your state. You can import your Jacobsen golf course mowers from some other state or country but not trees.

Tree size and growth

Consider the size and growth of a mature tree. If you need trees for group planting then go for smaller-sized species growing to 10 to 20 foot height. The plants of these heights are also suitable for smaller areas.

Trees with height of 25 to 50 feet are moderate-sized trees suitable for larger planting areas because these trees have moderate canopy widths. If you have limited space with shadow concerns, go for moderate-sized trees. Trees of this size are best for group planting. You can also mix moderate-sized trees with larger-sized species growing to the heights of 80 to 90 feet. This will replicate natural woodland planting. Larger tree species are suitable for open areas in which these trees have no impact on the playability. 

Trees with column-shaped and more upright canopy are perfect for tighter spaces. Fir, Spruce and arborvitae species comes with naturally low-branching habits with a blocky or pyramidal shape which can provide screening for the boundary. Classic deciduous shade trees with rounded, oval-shaped and spreading crowns can be excellent specimen trees. However, avoid growing deciduous trees with dense shading canopies in play areas.

Tree’s Weakness

Take this into account when you are creating a tree planting program. Keep following points in mind when it comes to the weakness of trees:

  • It is important to avoid tree species that are vulnerable to pests.
  • Trees with brittle wood are very susceptible to storm damage.       
  • Avoid trees with invasive roots or large quantities of surface roots.

Trees like poplar, silver maple and willow species are poor choices for a golf course. Callery Pear, this mid-sized flowering tree is also not suitable for golf course due to its weak branching habits and susceptibility to storm damage. Trees frequently dropping debris like leaves or needles should not be close to the play areas. Same goes for trees with brittle branches. Avoid trees with thorns.

If it’s a new golf course, you might like to go for faster growing trees. However, these trees are short-lived and wood of these trees is also weak. Faster growing trees should be temporary. Once slower-growing and durable trees are fully grown. Remove faster growing trees.

Published by Kate Westall