As experienced and licensed Arborists, we get asked a lot of questions time and time again. “Is this a sign of tree pests and disease?” “Is this tree going to collapse?” “What’s the best trimming technique?” “What’s the best tree to plant for your Gold Coast garden?” But by far one of the most common questions we’re asked day in and day out is:
“How close can a tree be to a house?”
First, the actual rules. From the government’s perspective, it’s quite simple: if it’s on your property, then it’s your tree. And you need to ensure that your trees – and their roots – don’t bother your neighbours.
But, normally, that’s not the only answer you’re looking for. Many homeowners and garden lovers are most worried about knowing how far to plant a tree from their house – because they’ve heard horror stories about getting it wrong such as:
Foundation & structural damage
By far the worst horror story is always about root systems creeping underneath the foundations, causing cracks, uneven floors and even compromised structural integrity – or total destruction.
But even if the roots are under control, big branches that grow over a house are at risk of falling on and damaging the roof and other structures – and maybe even the people you love.
We all love letting natural light into our homes, but not realising how far you should plant a tree from your house can seriously interfere with that. But that’s not the only interference: your million-dollar views, the functionality of your gutters and downpipes, and even nearby utility lines can all be seriously disturbed by a badly-situated tree.
How far should you plant a tree from your house? Not so close that it will make pruning and maintaining it – and looking after and accessing all the critical components of your home and property – difficult or even impossible. It may also make your professional Arborist call-outs more expensive.
How far should you plant a tree from your house?
So what’s the answer? How far should trees be from houses? While you should always actually consult with your local Arborist to get a specific and customised answer for your particular property, proposed tree type and various other factors, here’s a 5-step process to start to get your head around it:
1. How big will it grow?
When you’re selecting your preferred tree, make sure you check what mature tree size you can expect. And remember, it’s not just about the height, but also how far out the tree’s canopy will spread.
2. Calculate the rough distance
Once you know how grand your tree’s canopy will be one day, double that measurement – and that’s roughly how far should trees be from houses. What that means is that if the canopy reaches its expected sprawl of, say, 5 metres across, then give yourself a 10-metre gap from the house and you should be in the clear.
3. Don’t forget the roots
But it’s not just about the canopy and the risk of falling branches. Indeed, we put foundation damage at the top of our list of concerns above because of the potentially destructive damage those aggressive root systems can do. So when you’re selecting your tree, remember to ask about the roots so you can steer clear of the most invasive root systems.
4. Check with the authorities
We’ve also mentioned that it’s your responsibility to ensure your tree doesn’t affect your neighbours – and many of our own homes are perilously close to nearby houses but also your neighbours’ fences or utility lines. So maybe it’s a good idea to check in with the council to see if they have specific guidelines or recommendations for your area.
5. Call your friendly Arborist
If you follow our 4 steps above, you should be in the clear to enjoy both your home and your lovely new tree. But you’ll be making a truly informed decision about how far to plant a tree from a house by calling an Arborist who can:
- Actually check out your specific location
- Let you know all about the tree species you’ve got your eye on
- Analyse soil conditions, drainage capabilities, nutrient levels, compaction and many other factors.
At JC Tree Services, We Have All The Answers!
Here at JC Tree Services, we can do all that and a lot more for you, including safely pruning even massive trees at the highest of heights, safe and compliant tree removal and root pruning, and stump grinding so that the tree is completely gone down to a below-ground level or beyond.
Our team of qualified, experienced, insured and immaculately-presented Arborists are always just around the corner from your Gold Coast, Brisbane Southside and even northern NSW location, so why not get in touch today for a chat?