When planting a new tree, whether it be from a 7-gallon container or a little seedling, you expect it to grow big and strong with a spreading canopy and sturdy root system. Because you’re a responsible new tree owner, you did your research and you know how big your tree is expected to get at maturity and even called 811 to get your utilities marked before digging. Go you!
But, we understand that there can be some confusion about how tree size relates to planting proximity to homes, pavement, and utilities. If you need any help, you can use the below tables for guidance:
Proximity to your house:
|Size||Distance from home||Examples|
|Small (<25 feet at maturity)||At least 8 feet away||Dogwood, Styrax, Redbuds, Cherries|
|Medium (25-50 feet at maturity)||At least 15 feet away||Maples, Ginkgo, Blackgum, Persimmon|
|Large (50+ feet at maturity)||At least 20 feet away||Oaks, Elms, Yellowood, Poplar|
Proximity to impervious surface (paths or driveways):
|Size||Distance from impervious surface|
|Small (<25 feet at maturity)||At least 3 feet away|
|Medium (25-50 feet at maturity)||At least 6 feet away|
|Large (50+ feet at maturity)||At least 10 feet away|
Proximity to overheard utilities:
|Size||Distance from overheard utilities|
|Small (<20 feet at maturity)||N/A, can fit under overhead utilities|
|Medium (20-50 feet at maturity)||At least 20 feet away|
|Large (50+ feet at maturity)||At least 40 feet away|
In terms of underground utilities, there isn’t a cut and dry answer for this one. Be sure not to plant directly on top of any underground utilities and, as always, further away is safer. However, if you’re worried about roots messing with pipes and other underground utilities, you should know that different kinds of trees tend to have different root behavior. Some species have shallower, more aggressive roots, which might do better if you have a large space where they won’t disrupt anything. This is something to consider when picking the right tree for the right place.
Thanks for reading and happy planting!