Call Today for Ideas

Proper Commercial Tree Placement


When you think of Commercial Landscaping, do you think about planting trees or shrubs? If your first thought about placing trees on a commercial property is “All I have to do is pick some attractive trees and shrubs, stick them in the ground, and water them. Right?” Then you’re in for a rude awakening.

Tree Placement is an extremely important factor for commercial properties. Here are factors to consider:

Why COMMERCIAL PROPERTY Tree Placement Matters 

Where you choose to plant a tree matters. If you put a big tree in the wrong spot, it can doom the tree and damage the property. If you don’t notice the issue quickly enough, the tree can establish roots and be nearly impossible to move without killing it.

Planting a tree too close to a building could pose a risk of large tree limbs landing on your roof or damaging your windows or structure. Tree roots extend much further than you might think, too. They can grow up to 3x the width of the tree’s crown, causing issues with your sidewalks, lots, underground plumbing, and even the foundation.

Placement For Long-Term Growth 

It may be tempting to start trees and plants right next to each other and create an instant garden. But plants get bigger, so you need to plant them with future growth in mind and adequate space between them. 

When trees are placed too close together or planted too close to a building or structure, they’ll need to be removed in a few years. No one wants to be responsible for that expense.

It is crucial to consider a tree’s size at maturity, not their size when they’re installed when planting trees on a commercial property. For more information on planning tree placement for long term growth on your commercial property click here.


Line of sight for vehicles entering or leaving your commercial property is a big concern. You don’t want your trees or plants interfering with pedestrian traffic, blocking security cameras, or offering hiding spots for intruders or criminals.

Out-of-control tree limbs can snag pedestrians, hinder safety lighting, or grow into overhead wires. That’s why you need to work with a knowledgeable landscaping expert to ensure your tree placement plan won’t cause issues as the trees mature.

Placement to Prevent Your Stress

If you install trees too close to each other or buildings, they’ll likely start causing some of the above problems and need replacement. That means spending money that’s probably not in the budget.

Taking the time to properly place your trees in the first place will save you headaches down the line.

How can planting trees affect my building’s foundation?

One of the greatest risks that improper tree placement can pose to your commercial property can be foundation damage. Tree roots, as stated above, can extend far beyond the tree’s crown. Roots can penetrate concrete and other materials used to build a foundation. A damaged foundation is a huge problem.

Trees and shrubs can absorb excess moisture near a building’s foundation, ultimately minimizing drainage issues and keeping your foundation dry and stable. If your commercial property has foundational issues because of moisture or you get a lot of rain, strategically placing trees can benefit you.

Conversely, predicting if those roots will absorb too much or too little moisture or even both can be difficult. Trees planted too close to a building can actually create excessive fluctuations in soil moisture, which can cause the soil to expand and contract, putting pressure on the building’s foundation. Gradually, this pressure can cause significant foundational cracks and cause tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to the building.

How far away from my commercial property should I plant trees?

It’s crucial to keep in mind that roots spread out much wider than the width of the tree’s canopy. For as big as you think the top of a tree might be, the root system can be several times bigger. While the outermost lengths of the tree roots are typically small and fibrous, that’s not always true.

Experts often suggest the following recommendations for planting trees near your commercial building:

  • Small trees (up to 30 feet tall): 8 to 10 feet away
  • Medium trees (30-70 feet tall): at least 15 feet away
  • Large trees (Larger than 70 feet): at least 20 feet away

However, these measurements change if you’re putting a tree near the building’s corner. In that case, the guidelines are as follows:

  • Small trees: 6 to 8 feet away
  • Medium trees: 12 feet away
  • Large trees: 15 feet away

Shrubs and small bushes will have slightly different standards and suggestions. Their root systems aren’t as large or far-reaching as trees, so you can plant them a bit closer to your property and be safe from the root damage a tree might cause.

Keep medium-height shrubs at least three feet from your building and tall shrubs at least five feet away. Generally, experts suggest putting shrubs a minimum of half the distance of their full-grown width away from your foundation. For instance, you should plant a shrub that will end up being 20 feet wide at least 10 feet away from your foundation.

You can safely put plants with small root systems, such as annual flowers, as close as six inches away.

If you’d like more information on how to determine how close to a structure you can plant a tree, check out this video below from an arborist in Washington State that had to remove a tree that had actually raised the foundation of a structure as it grew.

Establishing drainage systems and tools FOR COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TREE PLACEMENT

If you plan to place trees and shrubs throughout your property, it will also be crucial to map out the necessary drainage systems and grates. Without the proper drainage system, even the tiniest plants and shrubs could pose a significant risk to your foundation. What’s more, plants need consistent proper watering.

Your foundation type and the soil under and around your commercial property will determine the drain you use. Proper drainage systems are essential to protecting your foundation from the impacts of landscaping and protect it from run-off water that can erode the soil around your property.

Proper drainage and design can often save trees that have been damaged by a previous poor design. In the video below and arborist in Allen, TX describes how he plans to save two tree on a commercial property that were damaged by fungus due to poor drainage.

There are several drain types you can use, including:

  • Surface drains: We install these types of drains just below ground level. They are commonly used to keep rainwater from running down into the foundation.
  • Channel drains: These are similar to surface drains, but we specifically use them to collect water from concrete surfaces and hardscapes.
  • French drains: We use these drains to collect subsurface water. This water would move right past a surface drain, so we need a separate drain to collect it.
  • Retaining walls: These are a strong, sturdy selection for keeping run-off water from eroding your soil. Retaining walls can also be the most aesthetically appealing choice.

Quick tips for planting foundation-safe trees

With a considerable amount of options and a great deal of spatial planning to consider, what are the most crucial factors you should understand before choosing the landscaping around your commercial property’s foundation?

  • Grade your soil away from the building’s foundation to ensure water can move away from the structure, off the soil, and prevent standing water from sitting near your foundation.
  • At maturity, a tree’s root system is the ultimate deciding factor. You’ll want to research and consult with a landscaping expert to determine how large your drainage system needs to be and how much of a potential risk the roots pose to your foundation.
  • Think about how much sunlight each tree or shrub will need and plan their placement accordingly. Some plants do well in the shade, while others need full sun all day.
  • Don’t put your trees too close together.

No matter what plants and trees you choose for your property, have an expert inspect your property to ensure they are placed safely. We want to ensure your commercial property can safely, effectively, and healthily host the gorgeous trees you want. 

Are you looking for trees for your commercial property? Mayer Tree Services would love to help. Give us a call or reach out through email today.

If you have questions about tree service or plant health care or would like an estimate, give us a call at 978-768-6999 or click here to contact us.

If you’d like to learn more about 7 Important Signs You Need Professional Tree Removal just click here.

For directions to Mayer Tree Service just click here.

If you’d like to visit us in Essex click here for directions.

Visit our Google Website for our Essex Location here.

If you’d like to visit us in Lincoln, click here for directions.

Visit our Google Website for our Lincoln Location here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

tree Service Essex, MA