Know before You Grow: 5 Things to Keep in Mind before You Plant Trees in Your Yard

by Ben SanfordSeptember 7, 2018

Getting the Most from Investing in Trees

Landscaping is one of the top things you can invest in that will actually improve your home’s value. In the conversation about the things you can do to improve the beauty of your home’s exterior, nothing says going all-in on landscaping quite like planting trees. It should come as no surprise to say that trees are both beautiful and useful in a great many ways.

For starters, trees can provide shade in the summer, cutting down on what it costs to keep your home cool when the mercury rises. Trees can also provide protection from the wind in the winter, cutting down on what it costs to keep your home warm. Trees can also provide fruit, nuts, and other direct resources to improve the quality of your life (and relations with neighbors, too!).

That all said, trees are not a 100% win all of the time and in every single yard. And further, there are things you should consider before planting trees, as well as when deciding where and what types of trees to get. Here’s what you need to know.

planting trees

1 – The Roots

Let’s begin with the roots. Not all trees, even if they are rated for doing well in the climate where you live, can do well in your particular soil type. Because of this fact, you want to make sure that you understand what type of soil you have.

Also, keep in mind that some types of trees grow large roots, which often spread out at the surface of the ground. These roots can damage walkways, patios, and sidewalks, leading to costly repairs. Also, make sure the trees you select will get enough water—that way their roots won’t seek out your pipes and break them.

2 – Location, Location, Location

As mentioned above, where you plant your trees matter. Some trees need direct sun; some only do well in the shade of larger species; some need deep loose soil; some thrive in rocky terrain. Whatever the case may be, make sure you plant the right trees in the right place or you’ll risk needing to have them removed before you get much of a return on your investment.

planting trees

3 – A Word about Maturity in Trees…

Not all trees grow at the same rates. In fact, many trees can take decades (depending on a tremendous amount of variables) to reach maturity. If you are hoping for shade, shelter, fruit, or whatever, from your trees, you may want to keep this in mind. Sometimes it’s a worthwhile expense to pay for mature trees — especially if you’re in a starter home.

4 – A Word about Refuse

There are very few trees that grow and grow, providing shade, etc. without ever dropping anything on the ground below them. Take time to research the trees you are considering with this in mind. A sappy tree or a fruit tree over where you park your car could be the least of your problems.
planting trees

5 – A Tree for All People

Not every species of tree will appeal to every person, and some of us have fickle tastes. If you plan to sell your home any time in the next decade or two, you may want to keep this in mind when selecting trees to plant in your yard. Unlike interior paint, a radical choice in trees cannot be easily changed out when it comes time to list your home.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Trees are big-ticket items and for good reason. The right tree in the right location can add value to your home for decades (even centuries) to come. You don’t have to roll the dice when selecting trees and hope you get a good one and hope you put it in the right place. Unless you’re perfectly confident in your tree selection and location skills, consult with an arborist, a landscape architect, a professional landscaper, or the local nursery when selecting trees for your yard.

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.