Location, location, location! Where you choose to plant your tree is a big factor in whether it lives and thrives or creates a hazardous situation for your house or yard.

  • The east, west and south walls of your house receive the most sun. It’s a good idea to plant at least three deciduous (leaf-losing) trees around your house to shade these three sunniest sides.
  • Trees can save energy in cold weather. A row of evergreen trees on the north side of your house (or the side with prevailing winter winds) can serve as a windbreak and lower heating costs.
  • If you have central air conditioning, plant a tree to shade the area around and over your air conditioner, but be sure to keep the air intake area clear of branches. You’ll save money if your air conditioner draws air from a cool, shaded area.
  • More home energy is lost from windows than walls, so locate your trees to specifically shade windows. Plant a tree east or southeast of east-facing windows; south, southeast or southwest of south-facing windows; or west or southwest of west-facing windows.
  • You want trees near enough to shade, but not too close to overhang the roof. Use the following table as a guide:
  • Make sure the planting site has enough room for roots and branches to reach full size. Be sure to avoid both overhead and underground utility and sewer lines! To find out about underground lines, call Digger’s Hotline before you plant.
  • Don’t plant tall trees within 35′ of overhead utility lines, because if you do they will need recurring and ofter disfiguring pruning in later years.
  • Don’t plant trees in restricted growing spaces.
  • Don’t obstruct airflow to chimneys.
  • Don’t block windows or scenic views.
  • Don’t plant trees or shrubs that would block a driver’s view of signs, signals, or intersecting streets when planting near street corners.

Some of the information on this page was developed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), a non-profit organization supporting tree care research around the world and dedicated to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees.