What Happens When You Plant Your Garden Trees Too Close Together?

When you buy a new garden tree, it’ll often come with spacing guidelines that tell you how far away that tree needs to be from other trees and plants. But what happens if you ignore this? After all, when you’re planting a young, twig-like sapling, it can be difficult to imagine that, in a decade or two, that tiny tree is going to need 15 feet of space. Surely planting your trees closer together than recommended will enable you to fill your empty garden so much faster?

While this may be true, there are a few problems that can arise when trees end up overcrowded. Stick with us as we explain why it’s important to follow spacing guidelines. We’ll also share tips on other ways to fill empty spaces in your garden while you’re waiting for your new trees to grow.


Competition for Resources

Trees need a certain amount of light, water, and nutrients in order to grow. It doesn’t matter which trees you have – even shade-tolerant and drought-resistant trees will still need those things to an extent, especially while they’re young.

However, they plant too many trees close together and they’ll struggle to access all of those resources. Some will end up going without, leaving them weak and spindly.


Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases are never good news. However, any problems can often be contained if you catch them early, unless, of course, your trees are growing so close together that their branches are touching. If this is the case, any pest or disease that infects one tree will quickly spread to surrounding trees, leaving your whole garden suffering from something that could end up being fatal.


Excess Shade

It’s not only trees that need sunlight to grow – all of the other plants in your garden, including the grass on your lawn, need sun too. However, if you plant your trees too close together, they’ll form an overly thick canopy that blocks the light from penetrating through. As a result, anything growing underneath or around those trees are likely to die.


How Can You Fill Out Your Garden While Waiting for Your Trees to Grow?

The most common reason that people plant their garden trees too close together is that they’re trying to fill a space in their garden. However, there are better options out there. For starters, you could place some potted plants around your newly-planted trees. You could even go for trees in pots since you’ll be able to easily move them once your in-ground trees start to mature.

Alternatively, fill those spaces with annual plants. Whether you go for flowers or vegetables, they’ll add colour, texture, and life to any empty spaces around your new trees.



As you can see, it’s vital to follow spacing recommendations when planting a new tree. There are several problems that can arise if you ignore these, which could ultimately end up being fatal for your trees. If you’ve purchased a tree or plant that doesn’t come with spacing guidelines, a quick online search should tell you what you need to know. Alternatively, if you’ve purchased one from us, get in touch for some customised advice on the best ways to plant your new trees.


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