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Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

3 Trees to Never Plant Near Your House

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Planting a tree is often a smart move for a homeowner hoping to increase curb appeal. Still, not all trees are well-suited for an area close to the house. If you're a homeowner who wants to improve the value of your home by planting a tree, watch out for these three types of trees. Planting one of these too close to your home could cause problems that might require you to contact a tree service in just a few short years.

1. Southern Live Oaks

Live oak is a general term that refers to oak trees that keep their leaves year-round. The southern live oak is the main variety that you’ll find the American Southeast, including Florida.

Southern live oaks may stay as small shrubs if conditions aren’t hospitable, but they can also grow into huge, beautiful trees. Typical specimens grow until they’re about 65 feet tall, and their limbs on average spread to cover about 90 feet. You may see live oaks covered in Spanish moss. The most famous example of a southern live oak is the Seven Sisters Oak in Mandeville, Louisiana, which is estimated to be approximately 1,500 years old.

In the right place, live oaks can be great for your property. They make wonderful shade trees, especially given how their branches spread to cover a wide area, and they live a long time. Additionally, these trees are strong and hardy and often survive hurricane winds.

However, live oaks are messy: their leaves are small and thus hard to rake, and the Spanish moss that they often host drops huge clumps of dead moss every so often. In the spring, the trees flower and cover everything in pollen. If you plant this tree too close to your home, you’ll deal with a lot of debris that’ll get tracked into your house.

Additionally, because these trees get to big, spread so wide, and have such an extensive root system, they’re not a good option for right next to your house. If you want one of these trees, plant it at least 15 feet away from your home and 10 feet away from walkways or driveways — and if you want a tree close to your house, choose another variety.

2. Laurel Oaks

Laurel oaks can look pretty similar to live oaks, which makes them easy to mix up when you see them. However, in many ways they are very different trees. While live oaks sprawl over enormous amounts of space, laurel oaks don’t get as big. While they grow to approximately 60 feet, which is similar to live oak’s height, they only spread to 40 to 60 feet instead of live oak’s 89.

The biggest difference, however, is in the way they grow. Live oaks grow slowly, which makes it a hardy plant that withstands severe wind and can live for hundreds of years. Laurel oaks grow very quickly, which makes their wood weaker and more prone to decay. Laurel oaks do not withstand heavy winds well and generally only live about 50 to 70 years.

If you want to plant a tree close to your house, laurel oak is not a good choice. The weak wood means that if a hurricane comes through, the tree may fall over and damage your home. Stay safe and either plant this tree far away from your house or not at all.

3. Slash Pines

Slash pine trees are native to the Florida region and offer beautiful, luxurious long needles. These evergreens are great for local wildlife since their dense branches offer shelter for birds and their seeds feed squirrels and other small animals.

Slash pines grow to about 60 to 80 feet tall, and they grow fairly fast. While many other pines species lives longer, slash pines still live to about 200 years — if you plant one, it will likely outlive you and your children, making it a great investment for your property.

However, you need to plant slash pines in the right place. Slash pines, like most pine trees, drop a lot of needles, so you won’t be able to plant any grass or shrubs beneath its branches. Additionally, slash pines don’t like their roots being messed with anyway, so regular lawn mowing can damage the roots.

Since this tree needs space from other landscaping, many homeowners choose to plant these at the edge of their property. You can also plant slash pines in groups in an open space on the property to create a woodsy look.

Even if you’re okay with not having grass or shrubs close to your home, you still shouldn’t plant slash pines closer than 10 feet to your home or 6 feet from a driveway or walkway. These trees often have some roots close to the surface that could damage your property. Plant this tree further away or choose another species.


Do you need an expert’s advice to help you decide which trees to plant where? Work with a reputable tree service to keep your yard in good condition. At Pete & Ron's Tree Service, Inc., we're happy to answer your questions about tree care. Call today for more information.

Kimberly Woebse