Where will the tree survive best?

  • Check the percentage of hard/soft surface in your yard, confined space, conflicts with other trees, overhead wires, underground utilities, drainage, exposure to prevailing winds, etc. 
  • Remember the tree species' particular requirements i.e. light, water, soil type, space requirements, etc.


What is your main objective in planting a tree?

  • shade
  • privacy
  • habitat creation
  • aesthetics
  • fruit production
  • energy savings


Are you planting for energy conservation?

  • plant deciduous trees in south and west to provide shade in the summer but allow sunlight to penetrate house in winter (when the leaves drop)
  • plant coniferous trees in north and north-west to provide winter wind and snow break


Check for conflicts and plan ahead for long-term tree survival

  •  look for overhead wires, sheds, pools, patios, decks, clothes lines, children's playground equipment, fences, other trees, pet areas, etc.
  • consult with neighbours that may be affected
  • encourage collective neighbour interaction i.e. knocking down fences to allow for wildlife passage, air circulation, enhanced views. Barrier plants or fishing line will keep out dogs, etc.


Minimum tree to structure distances

  • 15 x 15 feet of soft ground space for large trees (10 x 10 feet of soft ground space for small trees)
  • 5 feet from fences or property lines (underground utilities often run along property lines in the backyard)
  • 7 feet from hard or paved surfaces or buildings without foundations i.e. garages
  • 10 feet from buildings with foundations
  • 20 feet from existing large trees (15 feet from existing small trees)
  • 7-10 feet from stumps
  • 3 feet from hydrants, 4 feet from driveway edge, 4 m from light poles, 13 feet from hydro boxes, 60 feet from stop signs (boulevard)
  • avoid overhead wires and raised beds


Minimum tree to tree distances

  • Large trees (> 13m tall) 8 - 12 m apart (includes tulip tree, red oak, bur oak, ect.)
  • Medium trees (7 to 13m tall) 5 - 7 m apart (includes basswood, hackberry, ironwood)
  • Small trees (< 7m tall) 2 - 4 m apart (includes most fruit trees, most conifers, red bud, nannyberry, serviceberry)