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Residential and commercial lots

Swimming pools and septic tanks

Be sure to plant all trees at least 10 feet away from a pool wall. Medium-maturing trees should be located at least 20 feet away; large ones at least 30 feet away. This helps prevent leaves and fruit from falling into the pool and is far enough away so that roots will not unduly interfere with the pool wall or plumbing. Palms can be planted closer to pools because the roots are not aggressive and caopies do not spread far.

Conifers appear to be especially sensitive to chlorine volatilizing from pool water on a hot summer day. Foliage can be permanently damaged.

There may be local regulations specifying minimum tree setback distances from septic tanks and drain fields. In general, roots on most trees grown in an open soil area extend about 2 to 3 times beyond the edge of the canopy.

To judge how close to a septic tank or drain field to plant, estimate ultimate canopy diameter of the proposed tree. Plant at least this far from the area. Most aggressive large roots should stay clear of the drain field or septic tank in planted in according to this guideline.

Driveways, walks, patios, and decks

Use the planting guidelines for planting trees near asphalt or concrete driveways (See: planting guidelines). Keep trees with aggressive root systems at least 10 to 15 feet from the edge of pavement, patios, and walks, especially if soil is poorly drained or compacted.

Trees with soft, fleshed fruit could create a mess on the deck or patio during some periods of the year, so you might want to consider planting these far enough away so that the canopy will not grow over the deck or patio.

Retaining and ornamental walls

Roots on trees planted too close to a wall can crack the wall as they grow beneath it. Some roots that are deflected laterally by the wall can get large and crack the wall as they slowly push it. Follow planting guidelines to reduce this type of damage. (See: planting guidelines).