Consider Mature Size When Installing Plants

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape September 22, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Have you ever seen a huge Norway Spruce overwhelming a small hundred year old home or shrubs planted too close to a building? Many times, mature plant size is not considered in the design process.  Plants will be out of proportion to the size of the building or entryway.

Sometimes, a homeowner or builder will plant too many plants of immature size to make the building look 'presentable' immediately. Proper plant placement, keeping mature size in mind, is especially important when planting trees.

Avoid choosing plants that will need extensive pruning when they mature. Choose dwarf cultivars or smaller growing trees and shrubs that do well in your area.

  • Avoid over-planting
    • Planting too close to buildings requires extra maintenance
    • Walkways and other access areas can be obstructed or hidden
  • Safety issues and mature height
    • Powerlines
    • Obstructing views of traffic on corners
  • Consider seasonal shade and shadows from mature trees
    • Planting evergreen trees on the south facing side will shade a building in winter


Additional Resources:


Colorado: Large Deciduous Trees


Minnesota: Fitting Trees and Shrubs in the Landscape
Missouri: Tree Placement on Home Grounds


New Hampshire: Using Plants in the Landscape


South Carolina: Foundation Plantings


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.