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Ensuring Safe Distances: How Far Should Trees Be from Your Home?

tree growing by facade of suburban house
tree growing near house window

When it comes to landscaping, knowing the proper tree distance from your house is crucial for both the safety of your home and the health of the tree. If the tree is hanging over the house, or even has branches touching the roof, it’s probably too close. Trees that are too near can pose risks of structural damage or provide a pathway for pests.

Generally, trees should sit about 15 feet away from a house. This distance helps to ensure that the tree has enough room to grow without posing a threat to your property. Some large species, like oaks or maples, need a little more room due to their extensive root systems and large canopies, while smaller species like dogwoods can be a bit closer.

Navigating Neighbourly Tree Concerns

Can you cut overhanging branches or roots from a neighbor’s tree? Dr. Julian Dunster, a preeminent expert on trees and the law, advises on this delicate issue. He notes that if the base of the tree straddles the boundary line, then the tree is jointly owned, and both owners must agree on actions regarding the tree. If the base is clearly on one side, it is owned solely by that property owner. Pruning beyond the boundary without consent can lead to legal implications.

Before removing branches from a neighbor’s tree, it’s essential to consult with experts and check out Dunster’s full checklist here. This will ensure you’re taking the right steps and also maintaining good relations with your neighbors.

The Benefits of Proper Tree Placement

Aside from avoiding legal issues and potential damage to your home, proper tree distance from house placement can enhance your property’s aesthetic and even increase its value. Trees provide shade, improve air quality, and can significantly contribute to the overall appeal of your home when placed correctly.

Remember, when planting new trees or assessing current ones, consider the full-grown size of the tree, and always consult with an arborist to make informed decisions. For more information on tree care and maintenance, visit the University of Maryland’s Tree Trimming Guide.