Choosing a Location
If you know where you want to plant a tree, then you need to look for a species that you like, that will grow well in the soil and sun at the site and that will not outgrow the location over its lifetime. Finding a tree that will flourish in your yard is fairly simple — nurseries and the local extension service will provide you with a list of appropriate trees. But you still have to consider a tree's size and habits. For example, large shade trees, such as European beech or white oak, are great at bringing relief from summer heat. They shouldn't, however, be planted next to a swimming pool, where they'll create extra work for you by dropping their leaves into the water. Other considerations include the tree's root system (surface roots can wreck a lawn and lift concrete), maintenance needs (some trees require lots of pruning or raking) and resistance to insects and diseases. As you look at different trees, you may change your mind on where you want to plant. Keep these other considerations in mind before you start digging:
  • Plant a large tree at least 20 feet away from the house. Place a small tree at least 8 feet away.
  • Avoid planting a tree where it will overhang your house, block a door, or obstruct a desirable view from indoors.
  • Don't plant a tree that will exceed a height of 25 feet underneath overhead power lines.
  • Don't dig above underground utility lines. For help in locating electric, cable, phone and water lines on your property, contact each of your utility companies directly.
  • Plant where roots have ample room to grow. Be cautious of sewer and drain lines (roots can puncture them), paved surfaces (they will buckle) and even areas of lawn (surface roots steal water and make mowing a nightmare).
  • Consider visibility. Place a tree with low-growing branches far from the corner of a block so it doesn't block the vision of motorists who stop at the intersection.
  • Be a good neighbor. Don't plant a tree directly on or near your property line.
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