Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.
What Is A Good Tree To Plant Near A House?
When properly placed, trees in the backyard can make for a beautiful visual aesthetic. It can also provide quality privacy in areas where homes are closely bunched together. Maintaining privacy in those close quarters can be of the utmost importance.
It is important to know how closely the tree can be planted, but it can also depend on the type of trees.
Birch, hawthorn, pear, and apple trees are all great trees that you can plan near your house. American Holly and Japanese maples are ideal to plant near your home because they are low maintenance. Never plant Silver Maple trees too close to your house because their root system can damage your foundation.
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How Close Can a Tree Be to the House?
A good rule of thumb for a tree that you plan to grow near your home is that it can be three-quarters of its designated height in distance from the house. So, if a tree is 10-feet tall, it should be no closer than 7.5 feet from the home.
It is also of the utmost importance to choose a tree or trees that will not cause damage and will actually produce benefits to the surrounding gardens.
Trees can provide great shade, security, and even offer fruits that can be used in the kitchen. But it is of the utmost importance that they not cause issues with other plant life and the home itself.
The Best Trees to Plant Near a House
With these rules in mind, there are quite a few trees that will actually be beneficial when planted near the home.
Crabapple. Crabapple trees are on the shorter side of the spectrum, a flowering tree that will grow to be about 20 feet tall at its maturity. You will want to pick a disease-resistant tree, however. When disease eats away at the interior of a tree, it can weaken the structural integrity. This makes it a risk for falling down.
American Holly. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance tree that is beautiful and popular, look no further than the American Holly. This evergreen can be planted and only requires pruning once in a while, making it a low-maintenance option.
Japanese Maple. The Japanese maple is popular because of its beautiful, scarlet coloring. This is the kind of tree that you would want to be located near a patio or by the curb because of its ability to capture the attention of anyone that sees it.
Cornelian-cherry Dogwood. A theme here is that you want small trees planted by the house. This is because they are less likely to cause damage in the event that they fall. The Cornelian-cherry dogwood has bright, vibrant flowers that can really stand out, especially against a dark background.
American Hornbeam. Though this is one of the slower-growing trees on the list, this small birch can provide quality shading and privacy when it does reach full maturity.
Flowering Dogwood. One of the more delicate trees that fall under this category, it looks especially good when planted near walls.
The Worst Trees to Plant Near a House
The following trees are deemed the worst to be planted near your house due to their extensive, invasive root systems. Keep in mind that there are other non-ideal trees outside of this list, these are just the worst offenders.
Poplar. The genus “Poplar” actually consists of around 30 unique species. They are a very common landscaping tree in the United States. These trees are rather tall and, despite their beauty, consist of rather aggressive roots that are known to cause both foundational and sewer damage.
White Ash. Often found in large yards, parks, and other extensive areas, the white ash tree is known for its stunning fall colors. However, these shade trees are very fast-growing and have invasive lateral roots, making them the wrong choice for near your home. They are also prone to emerald ash borer.
Silver Maple. Known for their bright green leaves with a shimmery silver-white underside, silver maples are incredibly fast growing and have a vigorous root system. In some cases, their roots can even end up growing above ground. Silver maples are recommended by arborists to only be planted ten feet or more from foundations, sidewalks, drives, and sewer lines. They are, therefore, one of the worst trees to plant near your house.
American Elm. These trees are loved for their fountain-like branches, graceful shape, and golden fall colors. The American elm’s roots are shallow, presenting a serious threat to your lawn, driveway, sidewalk, and foundation. They are also susceptible to a pathogen called Dutch elm disease, and should not be placed anywhere near your home.
Once you find a tree that you like for your yard, make sure that you do plenty of research to discover how destructive and fast growing their roots can be. This will help you prevent the inconvenience of leaves at your front door or even damage to your foundation.
Tips for Planting Your Tree
When you have decided on the tree that fits your needs best, there are a few things that you’ll want to know before you begin. First, make sure that you plant your tree as soon as you set it up. This will ensure the best possible chance for survival of the tree.
If you do not plant it right away, keep it in a dark, cool place where direct sunlight and wind won’t be able to damage it. Before you start digging, call the gas or utility company first. The last thing you want to do is start digging only to hit a line, causing thousands of dollars in damages. On top of that, it is required by law to call ahead before digging.
Perhaps the biggest mistake that can be made is positioning the tree depth so that it is around a root flare. If you plant the roof flare at too deep a depth, it can wind up killing the tree before it ever really gets going.
Planting a Tree in Burlap Wrapping
Generally speaking, trees will come prepackaged with the roots and soil wrapped up in burlap. This is to preserve the moisture within while keeping the roots and soil wrapped up in a cool, dark spot. The burlap isn’t meant to be a permanent host for the tree, so moving it into its permanent spot in the ground is important.
Here is a step-by-step guide for planting your tree if it is wrapped in burlap.
Step 1: Dig Your Hole
Dig a wide and deep enough hole so as to properly house your tree. Always go a little bit bigger to provide proper space for the roots to adhere. Make sure to dig as deep as the ball of roots and at least twice the width of the ball.
Take your time to ensure that the hole has been dug properly; if it isn’t wide or deep enough, you’ll have to go back and re-dig the hole.
Step 2: Move and Position the Tree
When moving the tree, hold it by the root ball or roll it. You never, ever want to hold it by the branches or trunk as you could do damage to the tree that there is no coming back from. The root ball is secure and allows for easier transport.
Next, position the tree accordingly. You want to get it so that the area where the roots and trunk meet is either at ground level or slightly above it. This is your root flare and people make the mistake of planting their tree too far below ground.
Lastly, ensure that the ground underneath of the root ball is solid. This is so the tree doesn’t end up settling further into the ground due to the weight of the tree.
Step 3: Remove the Twine
Now that you have the tree in place, it is time to cut off the twine and remove all of the burlap from around the root ball and the base of the tree’s trunk. It can be hard to tell the difference between organic and synthetic burlap; even organic may not decompose properly.
If there is a wire cage wrapped around the root ball, you will need to remove at least a third of it, the upper portion.
Step 4: Refill the Hole
When you fill the hole in, hold the tree as upright as you can. It is a good idea to remove any lumps in the soil before packing the hole again. When you have the hole filled in the first time, pack down the soil so that you can remove the potential air pockets.
Make sure that you add water as you backfill; this can help you to pack the hole tighter. You will also want to add a couple of inches of organic mulch onto the edge of the canopy to provide a boost in growth. When you’ve finished adding that organic mulch, water the tree again.
One last thing to note: if the tree you’ve picked has a small root ball and looks as though it may be top-heavy, you’ll need to stake it. Staking the tree provides additional support so that it won’t fall down. Give it about a year so that the tree can take root and then you can remove it.
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