Pre-Planning for Tree Planting

When designing a tree planting, consider the positive and potentially negative impacts the trees may have on the surrounding area. Items to consider include: Areas of snow drifts, water runoff from melting snow, stifling of air flows during the summer, ice blockage of drains, and visibility hazards. Plan your tree planting before building a house, if possible.

Things you need to know prior to planning:

  •  Development and/or township covenants for tree planting
  • Your legal description and property line
  • The distance trees must be from property line (minimum of 5 feet)
  • The location of your septic tank and drain field; planting over septic tank or drain field is not advised
  • Utility company specifications for planting trees by their overhead lines - locate any underground utilities such as electrical gas, water, telephone lines, cable TV, and propane tanks or the property
  • Hand plant tree orders are due by November 1st of each year.

Good ground preparation is the most important part of your tree planting. Poor ground preparation is one of the main reasons trees fail. Summer-fallowing the tree plot one year prior to the actual tree planting is advised. Nonselectve herbicides may be used to kill grasses and weeds prior to tillage. Following these guidelines should enable you to start the ground preparation:

  • Decide on the number of rows you want
  • Row spacing can be a minimum of 10 feet and maximum of 20 feet apart. The average distance between rows in most plantings is 12-14 feet.
  • Allow for tillage on the outside of the tree planting (a minimum of 5 feet is recommended)
    The distance between rows should be determined by the width of your tillage equipment

    Sample of 2 row tree planting
    ~ Sample of 2 row tree planting. ~

    You would need to summerfallow a 32 foot width in this example (Not to scale)

For tree and shrub descriptions and photos, visit these web sites:

Additional information for landowner use: