The Q&A Archives: Trees next to buildings

Question: Could you suggest a low maintenance, evergreen tree that would be appropriate for planting next to a building. The building has a 6 foot bed along the front that is just grass. The buildings look very nice, but plain!!! I thought a couple trees, that had a somewhat conical shape (so they don't touch the building) and 20' max would be nice. What do you think about a dwarf magnolia? or some type of holly tree? My main concern is a spreading root system beside the building.


Answer: There are very few trees that would grow well in such a small area; dogwood is a choice, as is Fat Albert Spruce, or the evergreen shrubs Thuja 'pyramidalis' or holly. A dwarf magnolia would fit, providing you prune it as it matures. Root invasion might be a problem with some of the larger trees, but the plants mentioned above will have well-behaved root systems. I'd tend to plant large shrubs rather than small trees to soften the lines of the buildings, just so maintainence as they mature won't be such an issue. Best wishes with your project!

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