Tree Planting - Placement of Trees

Trees placed around a Victorian home.

Proper placement of trees is critical for your enjoyment and their long-term survival. Check with local authorities about regulations pertaining to placement of trees. Some communities have ordinances restricting placement of trees within a specified distance of a street, sidewalk, streetlight, or other utilities.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson adds, "Always pick your site before you pick your tree."

Tree Purpose

A tree can be used in different ways in the landscape. Specimen trees are landscape features that need plenty of room to show their beauty. Group plantings are usually more than one tree of the same species and mass plantings are when individual trees become a mass of trees, and do not have any real individual identity. Do you want your tree for shade, for a windbreak, for privacy, for fruit? It is imperative that much thought be given to the placement of trees in the landscape as it pertains to your ultimate objective for the tree.

TIP: Susan suggests, "To shade your home, place a tree within 10 to 30 feet of the home, depending on the tree's mature size."

Tree Size

It is important that tree size be considered. It is sometimes difficult to imagine a young tree as a mature tree; however, it is necessary in order to find the right place. Understand the mature size of the tree and the impact that it will have on the rest of the landscape before you plant. Consider structures, other landscape elements, driveways, sidewalks, property lines, and utilities and how they will impact the tree and how the tree will impact them.

TIP: Susan recommends, "Plant new trees at least 2 feet from property lines and 5 feet from driveways. Check all underground and overhead utility lines before planting."

Tree Needs

A tree that requires protection from a north wind should not be planted facing northward. Likewise a tree that fares best in shade should not planted in the sun. Soil, drainage, light and space are all important considerations that should be given thought prior to planting. The ultimate objective should be to give the tree what it needs to thrive for many years in the landscape. Be sure you that you know the needs of your tree and select only trees that are suitable for your growing region and your landscape

Courtesy of the US Dept. of Agriculture.