If you're considering planting a tree in your yard, especially with Arbor Day approaching, you want to make sure you do your homework first. There are so many trees available at your local nursery, and each one serves its own purpose. Once you've decided what function you want your tree to have, or even if you're still on the fence, consider the following trees for planting in your yard. You not only save yourself a lot of headaches by selecting the right tree, but you could also save some green in your wallet, as well.

Food-Producing Trees
Part of the reason that there are so many avocado and orange groves in San Diego is because we have such a great climate for growing fruits. Not only do we have plenty of sunshine year-round, but our winters are mild, as well. Try saving yourself a few dollars at the grocery store by growing your own avocados for home-made guacamole, or an almond tree for biscotti you can enjoy from scratch. Citruses like limes, lemons, tangerines, grapefruit and kumquats also grow well, but make sure that whatever you choose to grow, consult with an expert at your local nursery for more details on specific requirements for your tree.

Ornamental Trees
If you're looking to round off your home's exterior design, you might be looking to buy a tree to tie it all in. Make sure you determine how much space you have for your tree before you buy one. Costly trimming and even removal expenses could hurt you in the long run if you don't do your homework. Make sure that you're prepared to stick with your motif, as well. For a tropical get-away design, consider planting a Ficus (Ficus sp.), Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea) or Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai). For more drought-resistant alternatives, consider planting an Acacia (Acacia sp.), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus sp.) or Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia).

Shade-Providing Trees
Perhaps one of the most evident reasons to plant a tree in your yard is for its shade. There are many different types and sizes to consider. Large shade trees include the Weeping Chinese Banyan (Ficus benjamina), Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) and Sycamore Tree (Platanus sp.). For medium-sized shade trees, consider planting a Coral Tree (Erythrina sp.), Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea) or Golden Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia chrysotricha), each of which produce colorful flowers. If you're looking for a smaller tree, consider planting a Knife Acacia (Acacia cultriformis), Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) or Pink Melaleuca (Melaleuca nesophila).

Did you know that you can use a shade tree to help cool your home, as well? By strategically planting a shade tree, usually on the southern facing side of your home where it's most likely to receive the most sunlight annually, you can block sunlight from hitting your home. During the warmer months, this can help you reduce your use of electricity-hungry devices like fans and air conditioning units. Make sure to check out a local wholesale nursery provider of shade, fruit or ornamental trees for the best deals and expert advice before planting.