Right Tree, Right Place

Use this resource to help select the right type of tree for your yard. Growing space both above and below ground should be considered when selecting a tree to plant. Too often allowances are not made for the increased size of the tree when it matures. Most problems can be avoided by selecting the proper tree species for the available planting space. Before purchasing a tree, consider the following items:

Locate and stay clear of utilities

  • Call Miss Utility (1-800-257-7777) to have your underground utility lines marked. The service is free.
  • Plant at least 10 feet from main overhead utility wires on street or alley.
  • Avoid planting directly underneath smaller overhead wires that connect to your home or building.
  • Plant at least three feet from buried utilities. In accordance with D.C. law, the edge of the planting hole must be at least 18 inches from marked utilities.


Plan for the tree’s mature size

Give trees room to grow by planting minimum distances from other objects.

  • Plant at least 10 feet from a building
  • Plant at least three feet from sidewalks, driveways, patios and fences.
  • Plant at least 20 feet from other large trees.
  • Plant at least 10 feet from small trees.

Plant for shade

Lower your cooling costs by planting trees to shade summer sun.

  • Prioritize your tree planting with the sun’s direction to maximize shade by planting on the southwestern and western sides of your home.
  • Planting on the southeastern and southern sides will help shade your home from morning sun.