Choosing the Best Trees for Your Missouri Landscape: A Comprehensive Guide

Selecting the right trees for your Missouri landscape is a critical decision that can significantly impact the beauty, functionality, and safety of your property. Whether you’re looking to enhance your front yard, add shade to your backyard, or find a low maintenance tree for your yard, this guide will help you make informed choices. We’ll explore the best trees to plant near a house, as well as which trees should not be planted near houses to avoid potential damage to your foundation. Let’s dive in and discover the best options for your Missouri landscape.

Best Trees for the Front Yard

The front yard is often the first impression of your home, so choosing the right tree is essential. Here are some of the best trees for the front yard in Missouri:

  1. Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa): Dogwoods are known for their beautiful spring blossoms and attractive fall foliage. They are relatively small, making them perfect for front yards where space might be limited. 
  2. Weeping Cherry (Prunus pendula): Weeping Cherry trees make a beautiful focal point in any landscaping. It is a broadleaf, deciduous specimen valued for its showy flowers in the spring.
  3. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum): Japanese Maples are prized for their delicate, lacy leaves and vibrant fall colors. They are perfect for adding a touch of elegance and color to your front yard.
  4. Crabapple (Malus spp.): Crabapple trees provide beautiful spring blossoms and colorful fruit in the fall. They are hardy and can thrive in a variety of soil conditions.

Backyard Trees

For the backyard, you might want trees that provide shade, privacy, or aesthetic appeal. Here are some excellent backyard trees for Missouri:

  1. Oak (Quercus spp.): Oaks are majestic, long-lived trees that provide ample shade. They are excellent for large backyards where they have room to grow.
  2. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum): Known for their stunning fall colors, Sugar Maples are great for creating a picturesque backyard. They also provide good shade in the summer.
  3. Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera): This fast-growing tree offers beautiful tulip-shaped flowers in the spring and vibrant yellow leaves in the fall. It’s perfect for adding height and interest to your backyard.
  4. White Pine (Pinus strobus): White Pines are excellent for creating a natural screen or windbreak. Their soft needles and fast growth make them a popular choice for privacy.

Low-maintenance Trees

If you’re looking for low-maintenance options, consider these easy trees to grow in Missouri:

    1. Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.): Serviceberries are hardy and adaptable, producing beautiful white flowers in spring and edible berries in summer. They require minimal care and thrive in various soil types.
    2. Red Maple (Acer rubrum): Red Maples are fast-growing and provide stunning red foliage in the fall. They are highly adaptable and can grow in wet or dry soils.
  • Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’): The Spartan Juniper is a fast growing evergreen that forms a stately, dark green, dense column well-suited for use as a formal accent, screen or windbreak. In its natural form, the symmetrical, pyramidal shape rarely needs pruning. Tolerates heat, cold and drought.

Best Trees to Plant Near a House

When planting trees near a house, it’s crucial to choose species that won’t damage your foundation or infrastructure. Here are some of the best trees to plant near a house:

  1. Amur Maple (Acer ginnala): This small tree has a shallow root system and provides a beautiful fall color. It’s an excellent choice for planting near foundations or walkways.
  2. Crabapple (Malus spp.): As mentioned earlier, Crabapples are small and have less aggressive root systems, making them suitable for planting near houses.
  3. Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.): Serviceberries are also great for near-house planting due to their compact size and non-invasive roots.
  4. Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana): The sweet bay magnolia is a graceful, flowering, deciduous to semi-evergreen native shrub or tree. The leaves are shiny, and dark green on the upper surface, and the flowers are solitary, and fragrant, with creamy white blooms. 

Which Trees Should Not Be Planted Near Houses

Some trees are best avoided near houses due to their large, invasive root systems that can cause damage to foundations, pipes, and sidewalks. Here are some trees to avoid:

  1. Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum): Silver Maples have aggressive roots that can damage foundations and sewer lines. They also grow very large, which can pose a risk to nearby structures.
  2. Willow (Salix spp.): Willows are notorious for their invasive root systems that seek out moisture, potentially damaging pipes and foundations.
  3. American Elm (Ulmus americana): While beautiful, American Elms have extensive root systems that can disrupt foundations and sidewalks.
  4. Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis): Sycamores grow very large and have invasive roots that can cause significant damage to infrastructure.

Planting Trees Near House Foundation

When planting trees near a house foundation, follow these guidelines to minimize potential problems:

  1. Consider Root Spread: Choose trees with less aggressive root systems. Generally, the distance from the house should be at least equal to the expected mature spread of the tree’s roots.
  2. Plant at a Safe Distance: A good rule of thumb is to plant trees at least 10-20 feet away from the house. For larger trees, increase this distance to 30-50 feet.
  3. Use Root Barriers: Installing root barriers can help prevent roots from encroaching on your foundation and other structures.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Keep an eye on the growth of your trees and prune roots or branches that may pose a risk to your home.

Best Trees to Plant for Drainage Issues

    1. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum): The Bald Cypress is a stately conifer, native to the Midwest, and often found in groupings in parks and larger spaces, along streets, and around lakes. Unlike most cone-bearing trees, bald-cypress loses its needles each winter and grows a new set in spring. The russet-red fall color of its lacy needles is one of its outstanding characteristics. Hardy and tough, this tree will adapt to a wide range of soil types, whether wet, dry, or swampy. 
  • River Birch (Betula nigra): As its name suggests, the river birch naturally grows along riverbanks. But as a landscape tree, it can be planted almost anywhere. The species is valued for its relatively rapid growth, tolerance of wetness and some drought, unique curling bark, spreading limbs, and relative resistance to birch borer.


Selecting the best trees for your Missouri landscape requires careful consideration of the tree’s size, root system, and growth habits. By choosing the right trees for your front yard, backyard, and areas near your house, you can create a beautiful, functional, and safe outdoor space. Whether you’re looking for low-maintenance or seeking the best trees to plant near your house, following these guidelines will help ensure your landscape thrives. For expert advice and quality trees, come visit us at Frisella Nursery. Our team of plant experts can assist you in selecting the perfect trees for your Missouri landscape. Happy planting!


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