How Close Can I Plant Trees to Each Other?
As an avid tree lover, you may want to plant majestic trees in your yard. But have you ever wondered how close to plant trees to each other or how much elbow room you should give your trees so they can achieve optimal growth? Moreover, if there are utility lines or walls sharing the same space as your trees, it may be challenging for you to successfully achieve your landscape plan.
There are some important things you need to consider. So the experts at Mr. Tree have put together this handy guide to help you understand how close to plant trees to each other.
How Close to Plant Trees to Each Other: What Are the Best Practices?
Most landscaping professionals recommend that you leave at least 10 feet between small trees and at least 30 to 50 feet between large trees. Medium-sized trees can fare well with a distance of 20 feet between them.
It’s a common misconception that trees planted close to each other face fierce competition since the resources are limited. However, if you want your trees to provide you with more usable shade, planting them close to each other is exactly what you need to do. As the trees compete for adequate sunlight, they end up growing toward each other, and they create enough shade by closing the gap. Moreover, arborists also believe that the roots of trees planted close to each other have a strong network that helps them communicate and look after themselves.
However, there is a significant downside to following this rule. If planted too close to each other, a majority of those trees might end up growing one-sided. And if one of the trees dies, the others may become more vulnerable to damage due to the gap now between them. Moreover, it can also be expensive to plant trees very close.
On the other hand, if you plant the trees too far from each other, it may take a long time for those trees to provide you with sufficient shade. You may also notice low, drooping branches and larger wounds on such branches. Such trees also tend to develop a canopy close to the ground, so you need to schedule pruning sessions more frequently. The upside is that planting them far apart is easier on your pocket.
How Do You Decide How Much Room You Should Leave?
The amount of space a tree needs depends on what type of tree you are planting. Trees that grow aggressively, if planted too close to other trees or vegetation, could take over the other plants’ needed space. And far beyond crowding them out, aggressive trees will absorb the majority of the nutrients, sunlight, and water in the area, starving out the other trees and plants nearby.
When planting trees with shallower root systems and less aggressive growth, however, you can be a little more lenient about these distances.
Here’s what our arborists recommend:
- If you are planting small trees, such as flowering dogwoods, magnolia, or smaller conifers, leave a gap of 10 feet between trees.
- If you are planting medium-sized trees, such as fruit trees, birch trees, or larger Japanese maples, allow 20 feet distance between trees.
- If you are planting large trees, such as sugar maples, oaks, ginkgo, or flowering pears, leave at least 30 to 50 feet distance.
- For very large, aggressive trees, such as poplars, silver maples, or willows, leave a distance of 100 feet.
Next, you need to think about the quantity of light your trees will receive. Remember that while trees packed too closely will provide you with shade, they will also block the sunlight from reaching the lower leaves or smaller trees. If your tree is already weak or is suffering from infection, lower levels of sunlight may add to agony and cause strange growth patterns. You may also notice lower levels of flower or fruit production.
Figuring out the correct spacing between trees is even more important when you’re planting fruit trees. If you plant them too far apart, pollination will be a challenge. Plant them too close, and the quality of the fruit may be impacted due to lower levels of sunlight. Usually, apple trees need at least 30 to 35 feet distance between them. For citrus trees, leave at least 8 feet, and for plum trees, consider 15 to 20 feet.
You also need to consider aesthetics when deciding how far apart you should plant the trees. Even though closely planted trees may help you re-create a forest-like experience right in your yard, it may not look visually appealing.
Ready to Create a Picturesque Yard?
Keep in mind that this is merely guidance to give you an idea of how close to plant trees to each other. You should reach out to a landscaping professional that will be able to advise you better after looking at your yard and its surroundings and considering the type of trees you wish to plant. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to landscaping because every tree is just as unique as you are.
Planting trees may not sound like a challenge, but figuring out the correct spacing between two trees can help ensure that your trees get the best life. If you have any doubts or questions, it’s always worth it to reach out to the experts at Mr. Tree. We are here to provide you with all the advice you need regarding the type of trees you should consider planting in your yard and how much space you should leave between them.
Our expertise lies in creating a landscape that reflects your tastes and preferences and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. So don’t rely on your guesswork to work out the correct spacing—give us a call, and we’ll help you create the yard of your dreams.