Planning to plant new trees or shrubs? Don’t forget to leave a little elbow room.
Just like us, plants have to be mindful of their neighbors. That is, the other plants growing around them and other landscape elements that are sharing the territory—like utility lines, retaining walls and even your home.
Read on to learn about what to look out for before planting a new tree, and how much space plants need to spread out.
Helpful Tips and Tricks to Successful Landscape Planning
By planting trees and shrubs in the right spot from the start, you can avoid any issues that may crop up when your plant is full-grown.
Landscape Layout and Strategy: Tree and Shrub Spacing to Consider
Because plants don’t live in a bubble, there’s a lot to consider whether you’re adding one tree or planning a whole new landscape design. Help your plants and other landscape elements live in harmony with these tips:
- Planting trees right up against your home can cause problems down the line. As they spread, tree roots have the potential to burrow under a home and damage the foundation. You don’t have to avoid planting near your home altogether, but you should choose a tree with non-invasive roots.
- Got a septic system? Trees with hefty roots can clog up underground pipes, but a carefully chosen plant with non-invasive roots is usually safe to plant near a septic system.
- Before any planting project, locate underground utilities and consider nearby powerlines. While you can’t plant over an underground utility line, you can safely plant near one when you account for a tree’s mature size.
- When you’re planting a tree that’s expected to grow rather tall, leave plenty of space between it and your home so the tree’s branches won’t hover over the roof.
- Sticks and stones may break...well, each other. That’s why planting a tree too close to a retaining wall is not recommended.
How Tall Will My Tree and Shrubbery Grow?
A tree or shrub’s full-grown size depends on the species. The great thing is, that size helps you determine how far to space your plants.
Take a dogwood tree for example. If it’s set to reach 15 feet tall by the time it’s fully grown, you should plan to space it 15 or more feet from other landscape elements. A birch tree that can reach 50 feet? Space it 50 feet away from other structures. A 25-foot maple tree? You guessed it—keep it 25 feet away from other trees or your home.
Shrubs follow a slightly different formula. If a shrub is expected to be 5 feet wide for example, plan to put half that amount of space between it and another shrub.
And remember, trees grow tall when you keep them healthy.