Not all trees are right for residential properties, so what are the best trees to plant near houses? Before you imagine that big shady maple, it’s best to learn a bit about tree roots and foundations.
How Close Can You Plant Trees to a House to Avoid Tree Root Problems?
Tree root problems affecting your house comes down to tree size. A good rule of thumb is to start at about 8 to 10 feet away from your home for small trees and scale up to account for the tree’s mature height and spread. Here are the best and worst by zone.
Best Trees to Plant Near House
Choose any of the following and you won’t have to worry about headaches with tree roots and foundations. Not only are they beautiful trees, they have their non-invasive root systems or low-maintenance cleanup.
- American holly (zones 5-9): A low-maintenance evergreen tree
- American hornbeam (zones 3-9): A small, slow-growing member of the birch family
- Cornelian-cherry dogwood (Zones 4-7): An excellent small tree with lovely flowers
- Crabapple (Zones 3-8): A short, flowering tree that matures at about 20 feet tall.
- Flowering dogwood (Zones 5-8): A delicate, flowering tree perfect for planting near walls
- Japanese maple (zones 5-8): A popular scarlet-colored tree that’s ideal for planting near a patio or curbside area
Worst Trees to Plant Near House
The trees have widespread, invasive tree roots and foundations are at risk.
- American elm (Zones 3-9): A full tree with shallow roots that can disrupt your lawn, sidewalk or driveway
- Oak (Zones 8-10): A fast-growing, beloved tree notorious for causing foundational damage
- Poplar (Zones 3-8): A tall tree known for tree root problems that cause sewer and foundational damage
- Silver maple (Zones 3-9): A tree with shimmery leaves and roots that often grow above ground
- Weeping willow (zones 6-8): A large shade tree that commonly invades sewer lines
- White ash (Zones 2-9): A fast-growing shade tree with invasive, lateral roots that’s also susceptible to emerald ash borer
Once you find a tree you like, do a little research to see how fast growing and destructive their roots could be. When you choose the right tree, you save yourself the future stress of tree roots and foundations becoming an issue.