How far apart should trees be planted

How Close Can I Plant Trees to Each Other?

As an avid tree lover, you may want to plant majestic trees in your yard. But have you ever wondered how close to plant trees to each other or how much elbow room you should give your trees so they can achieve optimal growth? Moreover, if there are utility lines or walls sharing the same space as your trees, it may be challenging for you to successfully achieve your landscape plan.

There are some important things you need to consider. So the experts at Mr. Tree have put together this handy guide to help you understand how close to plant trees to each other.

How Close to Plant Trees to Each Other: What Are the Best Practices?

Most landscaping professionals recommend that you leave at least 10 feet between small trees and at least 30 to 50 feet between large trees. Medium-sized trees can fare well with a distance of 20 feet between them.

It’s a common misconception that trees planted close to each other face fierce competition since the resources are limited. However, if you want your trees to provide you with more usable shade, planting them close to each other is exactly what you need to do. As the trees compete for adequate sunlight, they end up growing toward each other, and they create enough shade by closing the gap. Moreover, arborists also believe that the roots of trees planted close to each other have a strong network that helps them communicate and look after themselves.

However, there is a significant downside to following this rule. If planted too close to each other, a majority of those trees might end up growing one-sided. And if one of the trees dies, the others may become more vulnerable to damage due to the gap now between them. Moreover, it can also be expensive to plant trees very close.

On the other hand, if you plant the trees too far from each other, it may take a long time for those trees to provide you with sufficient shade. You may also notice low, drooping branches and larger wounds on such branches. Such trees also tend to develop a canopy close to the ground, so you need to schedule pruning sessions more frequently. The upside is that planting them far apart is easier on your pocket.

How Do You Decide How Much Room You Should Leave?


The amount of space a tree needs depends on what type of tree you are planting. Trees that grow aggressively, if planted too close to other trees or vegetation, could take over the other plants’ needed space. And far beyond crowding them out, aggressive trees will absorb the majority of the nutrients, sunlight, and water in the area, starving out the other trees and plants nearby.

When planting trees with shallower root systems and less aggressive growth, however, you can be a little more lenient about these distances.

Here’s what our arborists recommend:

  • If you are planting small trees, such as flowering dogwoods, magnolia, or smaller conifers, leave a gap of 10 feet between trees.
  • If you are planting medium-sized trees, such as fruit trees, birch trees, or larger Japanese maples, allow 20 feet distance between trees.
  • If you are planting large trees, such as sugar maples, oaks, ginkgo, or flowering pears, leave at least 30 to 50 feet distance.
  • For very large, aggressive trees, such as poplars, silver maples, or willows, leave a distance of 100 feet.


Next, you need to think about the quantity of light your trees will receive. Remember that while trees packed too closely will provide you with shade, they will also block the sunlight from reaching the lower leaves or smaller trees. If your tree is already weak or is suffering from infection, lower levels of sunlight may add to agony and cause strange growth patterns. You may also notice lower levels of flower or fruit production.

Figuring out the correct spacing between trees is even more important when you’re planting fruit trees. If you plant them too far apart, pollination will be a challenge. Plant them too close, and the quality of the fruit may be impacted due to lower levels of sunlight. Usually, apple trees need at least 30 to 35 feet distance between them. For citrus trees, leave at least 8 feet, and for plum trees, consider 15 to 20 feet.

Curb Appeal

You also need to consider aesthetics when deciding how far apart you should plant the trees. Even though closely planted trees may help you re-create a forest-like experience right in your yard, it may not look visually appealing.

Ready to Create a Picturesque Yard?

Keep in mind that this is merely guidance to give you an idea of how close to plant trees to each other. You should reach out to a landscaping professional that will be able to advise you better after looking at your yard and its surroundings and considering the type of trees you wish to plant. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to landscaping because every tree is just as unique as you are.

Planting trees may not sound like a challenge, but figuring out the correct spacing between two trees can help ensure that your trees get the best life. If you have any doubts or questions, it’s always worth it to reach out to the experts at Mr. Tree. We are here to provide you with all the advice you need regarding the type of trees you should consider planting in your yard and how much space you should leave between them.

Our expertise lies in creating a landscape that reflects your tastes and preferences and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. So don’t rely on your guesswork to work out the correct spacing—give us a call, and we’ll help you create the yard of your dreams.

How Far Should I Plant My Trees?

Horticultural Myths, Plant Care, Plant Physiology, Planting, Roots, Tree Care / By Nathan Andersen

“How far apart do I need to plant my trees?” is often asked when purchasing trees. The answer depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want your trees to be a statement tree as a focal point in your landscape then it needs room. If you want shade as soon as you possibly could over a large area, you’ll want to plant them closer together.

Trees can only put on so much growth per year. A tree in the open will spend that growth on all spaces open to light. When there are several trees nearby, growth is spent growing up instead of growing towards each other, as there is less light once they close the gap between themselves. This causes trees to grow taller quicker, and give usable shade much sooner than a single planted tree would.

I also wanted to remind you of the litigious nature of our society these days. Due to this attitude we rarely have arborists, landscape architects, and engineers recommending things that shouldn’t be a problem in almost all cases, and instead recommending things they are 100% sure will never be a problem to avoid being sued. I’ll lay out the typical guidance from universities and landscaping professionals here, give their reasoning, and then tell you how I feel about it.

Planting Trees Close Together

The closest you’ll see landscaping professionals recommend you plant your trees is 10 feet for small trees, 20 feet for medium sized trees, and 30-50 feet for large trees.

Trees can obviously be planted closer together as seen above. The reason for this suggestion can come from many believed reasons, some of them incorrect. A common misunderstanding is that they will compete for resources, so they’ll be less healthy. They will compete for water and sunlight, however if these trees are planted within 50′ of anything else that is irrigated somewhat regularly you won’t need to worry about water (as roots extend much further than typically believed). Competition for sunlight is exactly why you plant them close together, to get a tall shady location. In reality the roots of many trees form a network where they can communicate, help each other fight diseases and pests, and benefit from biodiversity.

  • Quick Shade
  • High Arching Canopy
  • Less Pruning of Lower Branches
  • Less Susceptible to Wind Damage
  • Natural Upright Growth Form
  • Higher Cost to Purchase More Trees
    • This cost can be offset by purchasing more trees but in a smaller size (which is actually better for the establishment of the tree as they establish quicker when they’re smaller, but are easier to kill with incorrect care)
  • Outer Trees Are One-Sided
    • If one major tree dies it may open the others to wind damage and take time for the other trees to fill the void.

Planting Trees Far Apart

Planting trees farther apart allows them to retain their natural growth form as seen in the upper left photo. A rule of thumb for keeping natural growth form is to plant each tree 2/3 of the mature width of tree apart from each other. This will allow them to eventually fill in the gap while maintaining their natural growth habit.

The argument that planting them this far apart keeps them from competing with each other is misleading. Tree roots can extend up to 3 times of the height of the tree away from the trunk. So a 50′ tall tree can have roots up to 150′ away from the tree. ( for more info) These roots also happen to be the roots that are responsible for uptaking nutrients and water. Then planting a tree 50′ from another tree does little to nothing in terms of negating competition from surrounding trees. However, this does eliminate competition between trees for space for their large structural roots. These typically reside within 10′ of the tree trunk and shouldn’t have a problem competing for space unless it is nearby another tree within that 10′ radius.

  • Lower Overall Cost of Trees
  • Low Drooping Branches
    • This can cause regular pruning the first 3-5 years to remove lower branching that occurs.
  • Longer Time To Close Canopy
  • More Time Before Useable Shade
  • Large Wounds From Low Branches
    • If not handled soon enough, large wounds from large branch removal opens the tree to diseases and pests.

Additional Photos

Below you can find additional photos (most here in the High Desert) to show the difference between various spacings. I wouldn’t ever advise planting your trees 8″ from each other unless you’re going for a forest look (even then a bit more room), but some of these trees are planted extremely close.

All about the distance between fruit trees when planting: layout


  • How to determine the right distance
  • How to make a planting plan
  • Rules for the location of seedlings on the cardinal points
  • Distance to the fence with neighbors
  • How to arrange 9000 10 acres
  • Compatibility of fruit trees and berries
  • What to consider when planting
  • How to place a garden on a small plot

Growing a healthy fruit-bearing garden is the dream of any land owner. To do this, you need to provide all the trees with a sufficient supply of light, otherwise you can only dream of good harvests, the trees will get sick and damaged by pests. To prevent this from happening, it is required to maintain a certain distance between all fruit trees. How to do this in a limited area of ​​\u200b\u200ba standard cottage? To solve this problem, you need to plan the placement of crops, taking into account all the needs and nuances.

How to determine the right distance

In addition to demanding light, it is also necessary to take into account the fact that when planting closely, the root systems of trees come into contact with each other. As a result, some of them will not have enough nutrients. After all, a stronger plant will take them from a weaker one. Be sure to observe the distance from the house, outbuildings and the fence, at least equal to the height of the tree itself. A falling tree, even with its top, can cause serious damage to buildings.

When calculating the spacing between trees, consider how they will grow in the future. Therefore, when buying a seedling, you need to ask the seller in detail about the characteristics of the variety. It is best to buy planting material in proven places, nurseries. When purchasing a seedling “from hand”, one cannot be sure that the variety will correspond to the declared one.

So, at what distance should fruit trees be planted from each other:

  • tall trees, such as vigorous apple trees, pears, apricots, sweet cherries, should preferably be planted closer than 5-6 m from each other;
  • cherries, plums, dwarf pears and apple trees - 3-4 m;
  • columnar apple trees - 2 m.

At what distance should fruit trees be planted from each other? Often gardeners use currants and gooseberries for this, as well as strawberries, potatoes and root crops. The only nuance in this case is that it is impossible to occupy near-stem circles of trees, this is at least a meter in diameter.

How to make a planting plan

How far apart to plant apple trees

To understand how to plant fruit trees in a garden plot, you need to study the summer cottage. You need to know the location of groundwater on it, take into account your own and neighboring buildings, be sure to take into account the cardinal points, power lines, the direction of the prevailing and cold wind. Next, a sheet of paper is taken, and all of the above objects are marked in great detail. After that, you should decide what percentage of the total area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe remaining space can be given to the garden. This is usually the more northern part of the site so that the trees do not block future beds. Next, you should decide what kind of fruit, berry crops are needed, how many early, mid-season, late varieties are needed. Choose the varieties you like and write out the approximate height of each of them.

Orchard planting scheme for bushes and trees according to a stepped planting system:

  1. Tall trees are located to the north of all;
  2. closer to the south - medium height;
  3. further - low;
  4. on the southernmost side there will be strawberries, horticultural crops.

How to Plan Compatibility Plantings

The current trend in landscaping is to plant a garden in the form of curtains, hedges, single lawn plantings, circular gardens. When planning such a placement, more work and knowledge will be required. If possible, it is better to entrust this matter to professionals in order to avoid mistakes and get a high-level result.

Rules for the location of seedlings in the cardinal directions

Video: At what distance to plant apple trees from each other

Most fruit crops are photophilous. Mountain ash, barberry, gooseberry, raspberry, wild rose, blackcurrant can tolerate slight shading. Grapes are a very heat-loving plant; they can be placed near a building or hedge on the south or southwest side. Peach, apricot, pear, plum, apple tree need a lot of light. They are planted in the south and southwest. Blackcurrant can be located at the northern border of the site. Red currants and gooseberries - from the western or eastern side. Bushes can also be placed between seedlings of long-growing fruit trees, remembering the rule: the life of berries is about 12-15 years. Then the branches of the trees will close, and nothing can be placed between them.

Resistant varieties of cherries and plums can be located along the direction of the prevailing wind. They will act as a barrier to less resistant crops. In addition, taking into account the prevailing winds, self-fertile varieties are planted so that pollinators are in front of them.

Distance from the fence with neighbors

Distance from the fence with neighbors

At what distance to plant onions

No less important when planting trees and shrubs is the proximity of the fence with neighbors. There is a law on “Planning and building up the territory of gardening (country) associations of citizens”, which says that the distance to the neighboring site is at least 4 m for tall trees, 2 m for medium-sized trees and 1 m for shrubs. You also need to take into account the neighbor's house: it should be at least 5 m from it to a tall tree. The law is the law, but in practice often fruit trees grow right on the border of the site. This usually suits both parties, since the neighbors are provided with fruit from them. But when the tree grows old and begins to pose a threat, then the conflict is inevitable. Therefore, it is better to keep the interval.

How to arrange trees on 10 acres

The first step is to take a sheet of graph paper and draw a site plan on a convenient scale.

It is customary to divide the estate into the following zones:

  • Residential zone. Includes house and surrounding area.
  • Recreation area. Usually located within the site.
  • Garden and garden. As a rule, occupies the largest space.
  • Household department. Sheds for storing inventory and pets.

Existing and planned paths, fences, fences, underground utilities are also noted. It should also be noted on the plan the wind rose and the relief of the site. Planting should also be planned taking into account the border with neighbors. The garden, as a rule, occupies the northern or northeastern part, but it all depends on the location of a particular site. It is quite possible to occupy the border of the dacha with fruit trees, subject to the distance between tall apple trees, pears, cherries and a fence - 4 m, for plums and other low trees - 3 m, for shrubs - 1 m.

Compatibility of fruit trees and berries

It is good if crop compatibility is taken into account when planning plantings. The fact is that plants emit various substances that, when released into the soil, can inhibit the culture growing nearby.

Trees of the same species are considered ideal neighbors. But in an amateur garden it is rarely impossible to plant pears separately, apple trees separately, etc. Moreover, each species usually grows from 1 to 3 specimens. The minimum distance to the antagonist culture is 4 m.

Compatibility chart of fruit trees and berry bushes

Culture Favorable interaction Undesirable neighborhood
apple tree raspberry (until the apple tree grows), honeysuckle, quince all berry bushes, all stone fruits
pear rowan, currant, apple, grape barberry, juniper, cherry, sweet cherry
cherry cherry, plum rowan, nightshade
plum elder pear, apple, raspberry, blackcurrant
apricot dogwood apple, pear, plum, peach, cherry, cherry
peach apricot apple, pear, cherry, cherry

Things to consider when planting

Do not plant crops that do not grow well in your climate. They require a lot of attention, effort and time, and the result can be disappointing. Then you have to cut and uproot them, replace them with more suitable ones and wait until they grow. It is best to initially choose the planting material that will provide a reliable future for the garden.

A maximum of 15 trees can fit on one hundred square meters with proper crown formation. If pruning is not carried out, then half as much. The exception is columnar forms, which can be planted at intervals of 1 m. The ideal arrangement of rows of horticultural crops is from south to north in height. Shade-tolerant crops can be grown in the middle between the rows.


If the garden has enough space, it is better to plant berry bushes separately from the trees, as there may be problems later when spraying the trees at a time when the bushes can no longer be processed.

If there were old trees on the plots that were removed, then this should be taken into account when planning new plantings. A tree during its life selects the nutrients it needs from the soil, soil fatigue occurs. In addition, diseases and pests characteristic of this type of crop accumulate in the zone of its growth. Therefore, it is important to observe the so-called garden rotation.

There are several principles for the correct circulation of crops in the garden:

  • You cannot plant a new one of the same species in place of an old tree. That is, after an apple tree, you cannot plant an apple tree.
  • A minimum of 5 years must elapse between planting a crop of the same species as the previous one.
  • It is undesirable to plant crops from the same family one after another. For example, after stone fruits, it is better to plant pome fruits and vice versa.
  • To reduce soil fatigue, you can clean the fertile layer of earth (30 cm) from the roots of an old tree.
  • Another way to restore the soil is to sow green manure in this place: rapeseed, soybeans, buckwheat.
  • Vegetables, herbs or perennial grasses can be grown in the removed crop site.

How to plant a garden in a small area

Tips from experienced gardeners on growing fruit trees in a small garden:

  1. The most logical solution for a small garden is dwarf trees. For them, it is possible to grow at an interval of 1 m between trees and 2 meters in a row. At the same time, their fruiting begins earlier than tall varieties.
  2. Another option is grafting on stunted tree species. The cotoneaster is the most winter-hardy stock; it grows well both in the Moscow region and the Leningrad region, and in the Urals and Siberia. Even a pear on it will grow no higher than 2 m. However, a grafted tree requires somewhat different care than an ordinary rooted plant.
  3. Experienced owners of small gardens are advised to arrange trees in a checkerboard pattern. At the same time, the norm of gaps between trees is maintained, and row spacings are reduced.
  4. Also in a small garden with dense plantings, competent pruning is required. It is necessary to form compact crowns that will not be intertwined with branches with a number of growing trees.
  5. It is better to choose the most proven varieties of fruit and berry crops for a small garden. This will help to avoid "downtime" when such expensive square meters will not produce results due to the fact that the selected variety does not bear fruit for several years.

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Natalya G. Vlasenko

At what distance should trees be planted? Landing distance

Landscaping your site is no less responsible business than building a house.

There are many things to consider when planting green plants.

Today we will look at how far to plant trees from various objects, as well as from each other, depending on the species.

At first glance, this issue may seem insignificant and does not require attention, but it is not.

In the article we will explain the importance of this moment, and also tell you what the neglect of existing norms can result in.

Why is it important to respect the planting distance?

We all know at least in general the structure of a tree. This is the central part - the trunk, from which the crown goes up, and down - the root system. The main reason why it is important to maintain distances is your safety and the integrity of various structures.

In the process of growth and development, a tree with its powerful roots can damage the pavement of a path or driveway, the foundation of a fence and other buildings, and if it is a light wooden building (shed, utility block, etc.), then the roots can even lift it.

Close proximity to power lines is dangerous for many reasons . For example, a strong gale-force wind can knock down a tree and it will fall onto the line, causing the wires to break. And this is an emergency.

Besides, your neighbors won't be very happy about the lack of electricity, which happened because of your neglect of tree planting rules. An overgrown crown will also be a hindrance, as it will cling to the wires with branches. This is also a violation of the safety of the operation of power lines.

A tree that grows very close to the walls and windows of building can interfere with fire fighting and fire engines. In addition, the branches will obscure the sunlight, which will lead to a violation of the insolation of the premises.

It should also be taken into account that various communications are laid in the ground . And how can you, for example, repair a water pipe if necessary, if a tree grows on it or very close to it? It will have to be cut down, and it will also turn out that the water supply has broken due to strongly overgrown powerful roots. It is known that plants are very strong living organisms.

From the above, it is clear that it is very important to keep the distance for planting trees.

At what distance should trees be planted from each other and from various structures?

In order for landscape objects to remain intact, it is necessary to exclude, if possible, the risk of damage to them by trees. For this, minimum distances must be observed.

Thus, a tree must grow no closer than 5 m (from external walls) from a house and other structures, and it must not obscure windows and impede the passage of a fire truck. This will also save the foundation.

1.5 m from the edge of the track . If there is a mast or lighting network support on the site, then a distance of at least 4 m must be set aside from it.

In addition, not all areas have even surfaces. Sometimes the relief is very steep, there are slopes and terraces. 1 m must be retreated from their base, and 3 m from the retaining walls (from the inner edge).

From the gas pipeline, sewerage and lighting cable, the tree should grow at a distance of 1.5 m or more. From the heat pipeline, water supply, communication cable, as well as the power cable, at least 2 m must be retreated.

It is also important to correctly plant a tree in relation to the border of the plot . Imagine a picture when a sprawling apple tree that grows right next to the fence hung its branches to a neighbor. After all, this is already reason enough to quarrel.

Therefore, in order not to interfere with your neighbors, and to keep the foundation of the fence from destruction by roots, plant a tree from the fence at a distance of 2.5-3 m. area boundaries.

The optimal distance between trees must also be observed . Their decorative state, fertility and health will depend on this. Let's give an example: a pine tree in a forest and a pine tree in a field.

In the first case, these are tall trees, elongated in the vertical direction, with bare trunks and a small sparse crown at the top.

Learn more