Things to Consider When Planting Trees on Your Property

kids-planting-fruit-treeBefore you go out on a limb and start planting trees on your property, there are some things you'll want to consider. With proper pre-planning, you can plant in comfort knowing you did your research. You'll be safe to dig holes without having to worry about hitting any number of utilities, while knowing the distance to plant trees from other trees and structures. Even with a little preparation, you could save yourself a great deal of trouble down the line. Otherwise, you could be making a call to your local tree trimming or removal company.


Different varieties of trees have different heights and widths. It’s very important to know your tree’s average mature height and width prior to planting to avoid a catastrophe. It is easy to find out how large a tree will be when it gets mature. There are plenty of books and articles that cover tree sizes. If you know what tree you want to plant, do a quick search. Even ornamental trees should not be planted too close to a house. If it is planted too close, it will have to be continually pruned and excessive pruning causes unnecessary wounds on the tree.


Different varieties of trees can be more aggressive in seeking out water sources. Maples are one example of a tree that will try to invade a sewer pipe in search of water. Newer sewer systems are better sealed to keep out invading roots. If you know that you have an old clay tile type sewer system, avoid planting a maple nearby.

The root system on a tree is typically within the top 3 feet of the ground. Utility lines are buried 1 to 6 feet deep, averaging at around 3 feet. This is why you should always…

Check Before You Dig

You should always call the utility locating service before doing any type of digging. It is the law after all. Utility Notification Centers make it easy for people to find out where they can dig or not. It'll be worth the little time and effort it takes to check before you dig. A small accident can turn out to be costly or even deadly.

If you can, contact an ISA Certified Arborist to help you select and plant a tree. They will help you choose the right tree for the soil, climate, etc. As mentioned before, a little bit of pre-planning can eliminate a lot of problems later.

Soil Fertility

The problem with soil fertility is if you find out that your soil isn’t good and you amend the soil to improve it, the roots from the tree won’t want to leave the good soil to go out into the “bad” soil. The roots will eventually extend out so far from the tree that it is difficult to improve that much soil, which is why it's best to test soil fertility as early as possible, ideally before even planting.

When trees are being planted in a new yard, the soil there has been disturbed and a lot of the good soil has been removed. There are several options that can alleviate this type of problem. One technique is called vertical mulching; create holes down into the soil out in front of the root area and place mulch down into these vertical holes. This breaks up the soil, adds organic matter to the soil and allows a place for water and oxygen to penetrate the soil.


The actual planting of a tree doesn’t take long. The pre-planning takes much longer. I also suggest that people buy small tree because they have had less root damage and will do better in the long run. After a tree is planted, it should be correctly pruned for many years. The tree needs to be trained to have one central stem. A tree trimming company can do this for you if you don’t have the time or the expertise.

This article is written by Stewart Scott and transcribed by Sammy Ott. Stewart is the owner of Cevet, a tree trimming and service company in Columbia, MO.

One Comment

  1. I’ve seen so many trees planted either too close together or too close to houses or other structures and it resulted in such a headache for the homeowner. This is definitely something everyone should consider before planting trees.

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