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During the spring many homeowners take the opportunity to revamp their landscaping, from refreshing a flower bed to more major projects, such as adding water features or planting young trees for benefits in the long term. While trees planted correctly can add value to a property for decades to come, it is common for inexperienced homeowners to plant trees in a variety of incorrect ways. These mistakes can stunt tree growth, create issues for surrounding plants, and ultimately require removal of the new trees.


Trees are enormous factors in the value and beauty of a property. In addition to purely aesthetic benefits, trees also help prevent soil erosion, provide shade during the hot summer months, and return important nutrients to the soil for other plants to use in their own growth cycle. At this time of year, property owners often look to upgrade their landscaping by planting new trees. Without guidance from an expert arborist or careful research, however, these efforts can miss the mark and eventually cause more problems than benefits.

Bryan Connor, the president of Connor Tree Service based in the Charleston, SC area, notes that in his travel throughout the Lowcountry he frequently sees groups of trees planted incorrectly. A very common mistake is planting trees too close together–often in an attempt to create a full, lush, and satisfying look as soon as possible. While the immediate impression may be aesthetically pleasing, over time this strategy leads to serious problems and restricted growth.

The primary issue is that most people drastically underestimate how much underground surface area a tree requires for a healthy root system. With multiple trees drawing nutrients from the same patch of soil, resources are limited and those trees will not be able to accomplish their natural level of growth. In time, some or all of these trees must be removed, replanted, or replaced with the correct spacing.

While trees planted far apart may look unusual during the first few years of their growth, the ability of their spreading root systems to gather sufficient nutrients will cause them to quickly grow taller and fill out their crowns, in time creating the full, lush look that the property owner desired. The long-term good health of these trees will be established with a solid foundation, and with regular maintenance and health assessments performed by certified arborists, they will be well positioned for decades of good health.

Other common mistakes during planting include placing trees on hills or other erosion-prone surfaces, planting too close to structures, roadways, or parking areas, and planting in areas with too much shade or sunshine for ideal growth. It is also important to consider the location of water lines on the property, which can be damaged by intruding tree roots.

For more advice on tree planting, trimming, and post-storm tree removal, commercial and residential property owners can consult with Connor Tree Services. The ISA certified service provider offers comprehensive tree health assessments and expert tree trimming in Mt. Pleasant, SC and throughout the Lowcountry.