Shade trees are great additions to your landscape, providing pleasure to the eye and a 10 degree drop in temperature on a hot summer day. They add value to your property and can reduce your electric bill. For shade trees to do their job, they need to grow big. So if you’re going to invest money and time in planting one, take a little more time to pick a place in your yard that won’t cause trouble in the future. See if the spot you have in mind passes the following checklist:
- Make sure there are no overhead wires or power lines present. Be sure to move out from under them at least 20 feet.
- Make sure the chosen planting spot is at least 20 feet from your house, driveway, other improvements, and property lines. If you’re planting several trees, give them the same amount of growing space between them.
- Locate all buried pipes, wires, and drain fields. Make sure your planting spot clears each by at least 15 feet (20 feet for drain fields).
4. Plant your chosen tree only if a trouble free spot can be located. If one can’t be found, shoot for a smaller tree rather than a large shade tree, such as dogwood, redbud, or serviceberry. Most labels that come with the trees give the height and crown spread the tree will eventually occupy, so pay heed. Small trees can be trained to still provide open area beneath them for enjoying that shade.
If you need advice on planting and caring for yard trees, talk to a good nurseryman, you’re county extension agent, or local forester.