How Close to a House Can I Plant a Tree?

Written by lee weal
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How Close to a House Can I Plant a Tree?
Be mindful of sewer lines and buried cables before planting trees close to your home. (old home image by pearlguy from

Properly placed trees of the right type and size enhance a home's curb appeal. In addition to natural beauty, they provide shade, privacy, shelter, and help blocking both wind and noise. Improper placement of trees, however, can create extra expense and cause damage to the home or property. Homeowners interested in planting trees close to their homes would be wise to consult landscaping professionals regarding the potential height and width of trees at maturity.

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When planning the landscape, homeowners should consider the amount of shade the tree will provide. Trees that grow to a height of 50 feet and spread out to at least 30 feet will provide shade equal to their height in the summer. In winter the shade will be twice as long, which might be less than desirable in colder climates or when the sun sets earlier in the day. Large trees or a row of trees planted too close to the house may block sunlight making rooms darker as well as cooler. Plant trees of 50 feet or more at maturity 15 feet from the home at a minimum. Smaller trees with less height and spread may be planted closer.


Consider safety when planting trees. Homeowners who are not prepared to do a lot of pruning and maintenance on a regular basis should consider the size and type of trees planted close to their homes. Trees that overhang the roof may pose a danger in high winds or under snowy or icy conditions. If trees become injured or diseased, falling branches could present a safety issue as well.


Trees that shed excessive leaves, fruits, flowers or seed pods will create extra work if planted too close to the home. These types of trees will create more work and maintenance no matter where they are planted, but it's one thing to clean up the lawn, quite another to have to continually clean your walkway, driveway or gutters. In addition, homeowners who choose to plant trees closer than 15 feet from the home should select those that are insect- and disease-resistant or take preventive measures to keep trees healthy.

Other Considerations

The roots of larger trees can eventually damage walkways, invade sewer lines, and weaken foundations causing extra expense and work for homeowners. Branches can scrape windows and house siding requiring more frequent home maintenance and repair. Squirrels and other pests may find their way indoors through roofs or chimneys if trees are planted close to the home.

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