after moving from Fayetteville, Ark.—he’s already well versed in common pitfalls. The most common, he says, is not having a firm understanding of the first step in planting a tree: knowing the soil. “Most people pick a tree they like without considering what they’re putting it in,” says Howe. “We don’t spend enough time understanding the soil.” A do-it-yourself kit runs less than $10, but the Missoula County Extension Office can also help. The Extension Office loans out soil probes that can be shoved into the ground and provide a composite look at your soil. The office also has a list of recommended labs that will test soil samples as well as describe in detail what nutrients your soil may be lacking. The tests run anywhere from $15 to $60. The Extension Office, in turn, can make recommendations about what fertilizers may best help once your receive the lab results. If you’re interested, contact Sandy Perrin at 258-4213.
Prepare to pick Caras says the most important thing prospective tree buyers need to know is answers, because he’ll have plenty of questions: Are you looking for shade or something that will let in light? Can it grow tall or is there an overhang? Do you want it to bear fruit or produce vibrant fall foliage? “There are lots of different things we
need to know to help recommend the best tree,” he says. “There’s no shortage of options, so the more you know about what you want, the more we can help.” Caras generally breaks trees down into three categories: shade, fruit and ornamental. Depending on the size and maturity of the tree on his lot, prices can range from $40 to $250.
549-6106 • 422 Madison • Missoula • www.gcpm-mt.com Homesteader 2012
Your guide to renting, buying and living green