PLANTING A TREE on your property can be beneficial to you and your community. Trees lower your utility bills by shading your house in the summer and blocking wind in the winter. They clean the air and reduce flood risks. Trees help fight climate change, and they’re even linked to improving mental health.

Follow these four tips to maximize the benefits a tree provides. We call this “right tree, right place.”

1. Location. Choose the right planting spot, at least 15 feet from buildings so roots and branches can have room to grow and don’t invade surrounding infrastructure, such as power lines, sidewalks and pipes. Dial 811 to notify your utility company of your intent to dig so they can locate and mark underground utilities.

2. Function. Consider what you’d like your tree to do. Would you like a shade tree, a flowering tree, one that will attract wildlife or something else?

3. Tolerance. Think locally and research what kind of trees thrive in your region. Use available resources, like the Audubon Native Plant Database, to look up trees that are native to your area. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Tool will tell you your local planting zone. But, keep in mind that climate change is quickly altering these zones. Because of this, you may want to choose a tree species that can tolerate higher heat or more intense droughts. A local arborist may be able to give you advice.

4. Selection. Trees have specific requirements for sunlight, soil and water. Choose a tree that will thrive in the location you’ve selected. A tree that needs full-sun exposure may not survive if planted in shade, and a tree that thrives in dry soil might die if planted in poorly drained soil.

For more information on choosing and planting the right tree, visit