The correct distance to plant a maple tree from your house depends on the species of the maple tree. The following breakdown covers the most common varieties of maple and the distance they should be planted from your house, as well as any underground sewer lines, pools, or septic tanks.
- 10 Feet: when planting a small variety, like a Japanese maple.
- 30 Feet: when planting a large variety, such as a sugar maple tree or red maple.
- 100 Feet: when dealing with maple species with invasive roots, such as silver maple and Norway maple.
5 Tips for Planting a Maple Tree
Maples are some of the most beautiful and attractive trees to plant near your home. They provide excellent shade in the summer, let in light when they lose their leaves in the winter, and the changing foliage of a maple tree makes fall come alive. If you’re considering planting a maple, here are a few tips to help with the maple tree planting distance from your house.
Choose the Right Variety
There are several species of maples, each with different foliage hues, mature height, and level of root invasiveness. The type you choose depends on your home and needs. Here are the maple species and the right applications for them.
- Grows 20–30 feet tall.
- Shallow-rooted and non-invasive.
- Safe to plant 10 feet from your house.
- Grows 40–60 feet tall.
- Beautiful fall foliage.
- Safe to plant 30 feet from your house.
- Grows 60–75 feet tall.
- Safe to plant 30 feet from your house.
- Tall, generous shade tree.
Norway and Silver Maple
- Grows 60 feet (Norway maple) to 80 feet (silver maple) tall.
- Extremely invasive roots.
- Plant at least 100 feet from the house.
Although your maple sapling may seem small right now, some varieties of maple reach heights over 70 feet, and their branches spread to a diameter of over 40 feet. When planting, think of the future. Picture your tree at its mature height. Although the baby sugar maple may look lonely 30 feet from your house now, in a few years it’ll be casting shade on your home.
Protect Your Property
Although it’s important to think about where you plant trees to protect your home from foundation damage due to roots and roof damage from falling limbs, there’s also more to consider.
- Plant trees as far from sewer lines, septic tanks, swimming pools, and your neighbors’ houses as you do from your own house.
- Plant small trees 3–5 feet from fences, large trees 10–12 feet from the fence. Keep in mind, your neighbors may not want your maple leaves in their yard come fall.
- Don’t plant trees under power lines. Make sure that the mature spread of the tree is at least 20 feet from any power lines.
Make the Shade
Maple trees make for excellent summer shade, with their broad leaves and spreading branches. To keep your house cool in summer and lower energy bills, plant trees on the east and southwest sides of your home. This way, you’ll get morning and afternoon shade.
Although it may be tempting to plant a tree to the south of your house, keep in mind that it will block the sunlight during the winter, where the low sun angle casts long shadows from the south. You’ll get the best balance of benefits year-round with the east and/or southwest approach.
Location, Location, Location
Where you plant your maple tree matters a great deal. A pair of sugar maples make for a great frame on either side in front of a two-story home. A red maple is the perfect backyard shade tree.
There are also practical considerations. For instance, air conditioning units cool most effectively when shaded. A Japanese maple planted to shade your outdoor air conditioning unit or condenser is attractive and helps lower cooling costs in the summer. Plant your maple where it can show off its foliage and provide the best benefit for you.
How Far Do Maple Tree Roots Spread?
Large maple species like sugar maples and red maples have spreading root systems, while Japanese maples have much smaller root spread.
The roots of a large maple can spread up to 3 times the spread of its branches, but this doesn’t mean every structure in this area is in danger. Most of the further roots are tiny, hairlike fibers. The big roots, capable of real damage, are typically within the diameter of the tree’s aboveground spread.
Do Maple Tree Roots Grow Down or Out?
Maple roots are much more prone to spreading than to growing down. The root growth of most large maples extends 10–20 feet below the surface, less in areas with heavy clay soil or bedrock.
At this depth, maple roots aren’t the deepest-rooted trees, but they do dive deep enough to damage foundations and underground structures if planted too close to a house or sewer line.
How Deep Do Maple Tree Roots Go?
With small maples, like the Japanese maple, the roots are typically only 3 feet deep. For larger varieties, including sugar, red, silver, and Norway maple, expect the maple tree root system to reach 10–20 feet in depth when the tree is mature.
Do Maple Trees Have Invasive Roots?
Some species of maple are extremely invasive. Both Norway and silver maple can invade foundations and underground septic systems and sewer lines from over 90 feet away. These maples should be avoided or planted with extreme care.
Sugar maple and red maple—the most common large maples—are not considered to have invasive roots. They have moderate root growth and are safe as long as they’re planted thirty or more feet from any structures.
Japanese maples are very non-invasive growers, with very shallow, small root systems, their roots are more shrublike than treelike, making them safe enough to plant relatively close to your house.
Distance for Planting a Maple Tree at Home
Depending on the variety of maple you choose to plant near your home, you will need to plant it at a different minimum distance from your home. You can plant a Japanese maple 10 feet from your house, a sugar or red maple 30 feet from your house, and a Norway or silver maple 100 feet from your house.
When planting your maple, make sure to choose a spot that will be perfect for it when it grows into the tree it’s destined to be, not the sapling it is now. Make sure your house, sewer lines, septic system, in-ground pool, as well as your neighbors’ properties are all a safe distance from the tree.