Yard Tree Placement
Where to Plant
Planting the right tree in the right place is essential if you want to maximize the benefits of trees, such as reduced utility bills, and avoid future interference with foundations, sidewalks, driveways, and fences.
Think About Size
It's important to think about the future size of trees at maturity, rather than their size at planting. In narrow, open spaces, plant tall, columnar trees. In wide areas with overhead utility wires, plant smaller, rounder trees. If space is available, it's most beneficial to plant large trees, such as Northwest natives, to maximize benefits such as energy savings, overall tree canopy, and wildlife habitat.
Trees should be planted within 10 to 30 feet of the home to provide effective shading. Plant at least two feet from property lines and five feet from driveways. To maximize summer shade, plant on the west side of the house. If you want to plant for warmth in winter, consider planting a windbreak, such as a row of conifers. Remember that roots, branches, and buildings don’t mix.
Site vs. Species
It’s important to pick your site first and species second. For instance, if you have ample space, it doesn’t make sense to plant a small, ornamental tree. Likewise, if you have a narrow space with overhead utilities present, it doesn’t make sense to plant a large conifer.
When selecting your yard tree, it’s a good idea to think about factors such as soil, water, and sunlight requirements. Friends of Trees’ website, local nurseries and arborists, books, and online resources are great sources for specific tree and site-related information.