The small yard, small tree myth

Let’s face it, city lots are small lots, but that doesn’t mean large trees won’t fit.  In fact, it means just the opposite.

The problem with small trees is that the top of the tree (the wide part) is close to the ground. With a large tree, the small part (the trunk) is close to the ground.

I see this often with mature small trees: the tree takes up the entire yard and blocks the view of the house.  I don’t find this very attractive but criminals likely do.

Larger trees create canopy over a house, allow for an attractive frame and keep the view from the street clear, which criminals likely find unattractive. In addition, the increased canopy coverage shades your house so it stays cool in the summer.

(FOT file)

These small Japanese Maples completely block the front windows and make the front yard unusable because they’ve taken up all the space.

(FOT file)

Here’s a Dogwood planted too close to a house.  If the owner had planted a large canopy tree in this same spot, the lower branches would be higher than the roof, providing shade instead of breaking the gutter.

(FOT file)

These Doug Firs are probably 80 feet tall, but they fit nicely in the 25 feet between two houses.  Notice how the trunk only takes up about three square feet of space for the first 20-plus feet of the tree.

In Friends of Trees Neighborhood Trees program, we sell trees of “community benefit,” which means street trees, or for yards, large canopy trees and fruit trees. Trees should be planted at least 10 feet from your house to avoid foundation damage. Sign up for a large yard tree today!

–Brighton West