If you’re a gardener—and since you picked up this magazine I’m guessing you are—you probably get peppered with plant questions all the time. I know I do. Take Thanksgiving just this past year. My dad was looking for some trees that would “subtly block” his neighbors who had recently put a pool in their backyard. So in between doling out mashed potatoes and deciding if I wanted apple or pumpkin pie for dessert, I pulled out Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs from the nearby bookshelf to spark some suggestions. (That illustrated encyclopedia was a Christmas gift a few years back to help my dad make plant choices without my help. Its successfulness in doing so is still up for debate.) This same scenario takes place at summer picnics, children’s birthday parties, or even on planes when my seatmate asks what I do for a living. After I answer, it’s common to hear, “Wow, that’s so interesting. Listen, I have this spot where I need something …” Most of these inquiries center around trees too—and I get it. A tree is an investment with a capital “I.” Not only is a tree the single most expensive plant you will likely purchase for your landscape, but it is also the longest lived. Trees don’t like to be moved, they generally require a bit more effort to get established than a perennial or shrub, and they are usually the focal point of a specific area. For all of these reasons, everyone wants to choose the right tree.