What to Consider When Planting Trees Near Your Home in Kansas City

It’s tree planting season in Kansas City! Trees give a warm, “Hello, neighbor” vibe to your property. Not only do they bring positive energy to the landscape, they also add shade and save on energy costs. 

Whether your trees are for fashion or function, it can be a challenge to determine what is the right tree for you. I say ‘right tree’ because depending on your yard, the location of where the tree will be planted, and certain maintenance factors you can certainly purchase a wrong tree.

So how do you avoid buying the wrong tree and getting the tree of your dreams? Below is a guide of key factors to consider when planting a tree near your home in Kansas City. 

Trees and Your Foundation

Believe it or not, a tree’s root structure will grow one to three times the breadth of the tree top. 

Imagine if those underground roots reach the walls of the foundation or basement. Beneath the house, those roots can suck up too much water from the soil, shrinking the ground on which your home is built. 

The result? The structure can settle and sink unevenly. Yikes!

Low Risk Trees vs. High Risk Trees 

It’s better to be safe than sorry — avoid planting trees with powerful root systems. 

Smaller trees with shallow roots will pose less risk to your home.

High risk trees: Poplar, Aspen, Silver Maple, Oak, Weeping Willow, Elm, White Ash

Low risk trees: Birch, Hawthorn, American Holly, Flowering Dogwood, Japanese Maple, Blossom Trees 

Trees and Your Gutters

Gutters are an essential part of keeping your home healthy. They are your home’s defense system against the thousands of gallons of water that pour off your roof every time it rains. Without gutters you basement is destined to flood and your foundation will eventually face severe damage. If the gutters of your home are clogged, they won’t function properly. This is why it’s important to choose a tree that drops foliage infrequently and to plant it far enough away that the majority of what it does drop won’t chronically fall into your gutters.

Let’s explore some of the common High-Risk Trees common to Kansas City for your guttering system

High-Risk Trees for Your Gutters

Helicopters from maple trees
Maple Seeds

Blossom trees: while they might look stunning in the countryside, when planted near your home, they can drop messy fruits or branches. Think of it as “tree baggage”– the extra problems that’ll clutter your entrance, and clog your gutters. 

Maple Trees: Drop seeds also known as “Helicopters” or “Whirly Birds” in the spring. Shaped like a helicopter  blade, these seeds can travel far and are excellent at getting into every nook and cranny of your guttering system.

Sweet Gum Trees: From early fall until early spring Sweet Gum Trees drop small spiky Gum Balls. Gum Balls are difficult to clean up and quickly clog gutters and litter yards. Even more unfortunate, they don’t go away on their own. The dry, hard and tough fibers in the seed balls are slow to decompose. If littering a lawn, they can become projectiles from a lawnmower chute, or a slip factor.

Oak trees drop oak tassels
Oak Tassels

Oak Tree: These drop Oak Tassels in the Spring, acorns in the fall and leaves all winter long. Talk about high maintenance. If you’re wondering what an Oak Tassel is, it is a long yellow sticky tassel that sticks like super glue to anything it touches – whether it be your roof, gutters, BBQ grill or unsuspecting, freshly-washed car! 

Pine Trees: While Pine Trees are Evergreen, they still replace needles yearly. Usually these will drop summer and fall. If planting a pine, avoid putting it too close to the house where these needles will fill your gutters. Since they are so small, they are actually quite difficult to clean up.

Of course, if you have your heart set on one of the aforementioned trees, an easy solution is to have Advantage Gutter Guard® installed. It was designed with these trees in mind and guarantees you’ll never have to clean your gutters again – even if you’ve decided to surround your home with Maple trees!

Tree Size & Location:

Now that you’ve found the idyllic tree, it’s time to find the perfect place for it to complement your home. 

Size matters. Planting the wrong-sized tree in the wrong place can cause logistical problems such as damage to your driveway, plumbing and the overall structural foundation of your home.

To prevent these maintenance issues, here are some sizing rules to follow: 

Large trees (70 feet or higher) should be planted at least 20 feet from home.

Medium sized trees (up to 70 feet tall) should be planted 15 feet from home. 

Small trees (30 feet tall or less) should be planted 8 to 10 feet from home. 

Now that you’ve reviewed all the pitfalls, you can find the perfect tree that will give you nothing but joy and refreshment for years to come. You’ve done you research…now go ahead and get planting!

Common Questions:

Do I need permission from the city to plant a tree near my home in Kansas city? 

Most cities and towns usually set their own rules and by-laws. They depend on the homeowner to do their own research and plant responsibly. 

How do I check for underground lines before planting a tree? 

Before digging, it’s important to check for any underground utilities. Call 8-1-1 or 1-800-DIG-RITE (344-7483) to have a free specialist survey the area. DIG RITE says “Always Call or Click Before You Dig. It’s Easy. It’s Free. And, it’s the Law!”