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A Tree and Bush Planting Guide for Maryland and Virginia Homeowners

If you own a home in Maryland or Virginia and you’re thinking about planting trees and bushes to make your home look even more beautiful, this is exactly the guide for you. Choosing and planting trees and bushes isn’t necessarily as easy as you might think. It’s actually important that you choose the right trees and bushes if you want an effective amount of coverage. Here’s what you need to know about the process of planting trees and bushes.

Great Small Trees for Virginia and Maryland

First and foremost, there are a variety of trees that you might be able to plant around your home. These trees are small enough to be maintainable while still being large enough to provide shade and add an interesting element to your home.

  • Crabapple
  • American Dogwood
  • White Fringetree
  • Hawthorn
  • American Holly
  • Pawpaw
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Photo by Studio Dekorasyon on Unsplash

When you’re planting these trees, you want to pay attention to the distance you’re placing between them. You’re going to want to pay attention to the size of the tree as well as where it will sit best in your yard. Here’s the important information on size and separation.

  • Crabapple: 15-35 feet tall, 10-25 feet wide, 6-15 feet apart
  • American Dogwood: 20 feet tall, 15-20 feet wide, 6-20 feet apart
  • White Fringetree: 12-20 feet tall, 12-20 feet wide, 12-20 feet apart
  • Hawthorn: 25-30 feet tall, 20-25 feet wide, 20-25 feet apart
  • American Holly: 15-30 feet tall, 18-25 feet wide, 18-25 feet apart
  • Pawpaw: 15-20 feet tall, 15-20 feet wide, 5-10 feet apart 

Additionally, all these trees except for the Pawpaw grow best in direct sunlight. The Pawpaw grows best in shade, making it a great option if your yard rarely gets direct sunlight for whatever reason.

Great Bushes to Grow in Virginia and Maryland

If you don’t want to go through with managing trees across your property, you may instead want to consider bushes. Bushes can be easier to grow and easier to maintain overall. Here are some of the best bushes that will grow well in Virginia and Maryland.

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  • William Penn Barberry
  • Border Forsythia
  • Tatarian Dogwood
  • Dwarf Fothergilla
  • Sweet Pepperbush
  • Buttonbush
  • Smooth Hydrangea 

As with trees, bushes also have specific needs for planting. Here are the important tidbits, including when you should plant bushes and how far away they need to be from each other.

  • William Penn Barberry: Plant in Spring, 3-5 feet apart
  • Border Forsythia: Plant in Spring, 2-3 feet apart
  • Tatarian Dogwood: Plant in Winter, 8-10 feet apart
  • Dwarf Fothergilla: Plant in April, 3 feet apart
  • Sweet Pepperbush: Plant in June 4-6 feet apart
  • Buttonbush: Plant in May, June, or July, 4 feet apart
  • Smooth Hydrangea: Plant in June, 4-6 feet apart

What Not to Do

While it’s good to know what to do, it’s also good to know what you shouldn’t do. These are a few of the things to keep in mind when it comes to what you shouldn’t do, especially in a Virginia or Maryland home.

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Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash
  • Plant Hardwoods, Including Oak, Elm, Willow, Honeylocust, and Silver Maple
  • Plant Too Close to the Home
  • Plant Trees and Bushes That Don’t Grow Well in Virginia and Maryland
  • Ignore Serious Problems That May Arise From the Trees 

It’s especially important that you don’t ignore anything that might hint toward a serious problem surrounding your home’s bushes and trees. If you notice anything that might indicate foundational concerns or a serious concrete problem, talk to a home repair expert as early as possible.


As you can see, planting trees and bushes can certainly be difficult, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Rather than planting trees and bushes in a way that could potentially undermine your home’s structural integrity, you can instead choose trees and bushes that look great and mesh well with your home’s look. Pay attention to these elements and you’ll be able to decorate your home very effectively.


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