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What species are safe to plant near my house?

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Most home foundations are built to withstand encroaching tree roots and won't be damaged by them directly. However, by removing moisture from the soil, some trees can cause severe subsidence (movement of the ground) that can damage your foundation and underground services.

Always ensure that you are planting your trees far enough away from your house or other buildings. Tree roots can be destructive to foundations, especially in clay-rich soils. Branches can also pose a hazard if they happen to break from the tree.

The following table can be used to determining the minimum distance your trees should be planted from your house or other structure.

Mature tree height Distance from structure
0-8 meters (0-25 feet) 3 meters (10 feet)
8-15 meters (25-50 feet) 4-6 meters (15-20 feet)
15+ meters (50+ feet) 10-15 meters (30-50 feet)

Special Exceptions:

At maturity a tree's roots will typically be as broad as its crown. However, there are exceptions (keep the following species at least 15 meters (50 feet) from homes and underground infrastructure):

  • Poplar and aspen. Especially northwest poplar, which can have extremely invasive root systems that can spread up to 4 times the height of the trees
  • Willow can have extensive root systems that spread out in search of moisture
  • Silver maple has very dense and shallow roots that can extend over 15 meters

Related Questions:

This question has the following tag: selecting the right trees

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