Things every homeowner should consider when planting a tree

Some of our favorite places in the world are made possible by trees. Picture iconic scenes from around the world, vacation spots and natural wonders. Trees always play a staring role or frame the stage. Hiking a Rocky Mountain path among evergreens, lying in a hammock between two palm trees, walking through a redwood forest, cherry blossoms in the nation’s Capitol, rows of Italian cypress trees.

Ahhhh. Did we mention that trees actually lower stress, too? It’s true. Studies show that looking at trees for just 5 minutes can lower blood pressure and muscle tension, a discovery that has hospitals and dentist offices creating courtyard gardens and landscaped entries.

This is what you’re creating in your outdoor space. A refuge, a beautiful spot with seasonal interest, a place that is unique, private, alive and enduring. And to accomplish this, we’ve compiled a list of a few things you’ll want to consider before you plant. Not to make things more complicated, but to help you choose wisely and to grow successfully.

Here’s what we’ve learned over the years:

1. Measure Your Space

That tag on the tree that tells you how big your tree or shrub will grow? Believe it. We understand the desire to fill in empty spots or add texture, interest or color to a specific area, but you won’t be doing yourself any favors by planting a tree too close to the house, another tree or an entryway.

Be sure to keep the mature size in mind when you plant and you won’t have to worry about crowded roots or near-constant pruning.

2. Check Your Soil

Here in Indiana, you most likely have heavy clay or sandy soil or a little bit of both. Sections of your yard may sit lower than others and hold more water. You may even have old stumps just beneath the surface. Take a little time to check out the condition of your soil. We always recommend amending when you plant, but you can read up on feeding your soil here.

3. Determine Exposure

Watch the area where you want to plant from morning through early evening and see how much direct sunlight it receives. Make sure this coincides with what your tree needs to thrive. Take notice of particularly wet areas in your yard, too and make sure if you plant here that your tree doesn’t mind the extra moisture.

4. Think About Safety

That tiny white pine next to your front porch looks perfect right now, but in a few years it will grow to cover the side of your porch. Not the most welcoming scenario for your guests and the exact opposite for the sketchy kind of visitors you don’t want to attract. Shielding entry points from passersby makes it much easier for potential intruders to enter your home undetected.

5. Plant With Your View in Mind

It’s nice to look out your window and be met with the dappled light of mid-morning sun shining through your trees. Rather than, say, your neighbor’s bedroom window or utility boxes. You can plant to attract birds and butterflies and to enjoy the fragrance of spring blooms from indoors and out.

You’ll also want to plant with curb appeal in mind. Though chances are if you make a decision that looks good from the inside, it will most likely afford the same view from the curb.

6. Be A Good Neighbor

We share this one because this can be a painful lesson. Sometimes what’s good for us, isn’t so good for our neighbors. And since we’re living next door to these fine folks, doesn’t it go without saying we want to make decisions that promote harmony?

Trees that drop berries or messy seedpods may not be the best choice near your fence or neighbor’s driveway. And expect your tree to be pruned from the other side if it begins to hang over your neighbor’s yard, something you have little to no control over.

7. Consider Your Legacy

Most of what we do and say will be forgotten beyond our families and friends. But a tree is an enduring legacy, something that cleans our air, soil and water for decades to come. A tree is shade for children and grandchildren, a tree fort waiting to happen, a place to gather for picnics and family photos.

To realize how true this is, picture your favorite outdoor space without trees. Trees are an investment in our future and an action that speaks much louder than words.


And if all of this sounds like too much work, just ask us to help you choose the perfect tree for you. At Altum’s, you’ll have a 1-year guarantee on every tree you plant. Or, if you’re looking for more help, we’d be happy to deliver and plant for you, which includes soil amendment, root stimulator, a tidy mulched area around your tree and a 3-year planting warranty. We heart trees!