Top 7 Small Trees with Non-Invasive Roots (Full Guide)

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If you’re looking for small trees with non-invasive roots, you’re at the right place. There are several factors to think about while planning your home’s exterior landscape. Everything from the design and irrigation needs to the seasonal changes in plants and trees.

Given that many tree species may develop fast and that their roots may cause damage that is costly to fix, special attention should be paid to a tree’s root structure.

It’s mid-summer, and the planting season is in full swing. Anyone with even the slightest aptitude for gardening enjoys spending time there and seeing things develop. Spring and summer are the ideal time to design your summer garden, including the planting of shrubs, trees, flowers, and vegetables.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind while planning to install trees. It can be the tree’s primary root system.

As little as icebergs in the ocean, trees are. Only the upper portion is visible to us, but underneath that is a deep and enormous planet that is always searching for food and water.

When I plant anything near the septic tank system on our finca in Spain, I always have to consider the root system.

Compared to septic tank repair, replacing wood is simple and inexpensive!

Tree Root Systems

  1. Systems of tap roots
  2. Lateral-root systems
  3. Heart-root systems (a.k.a oblique root system)

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Taproot System

In order to feed the tree with nutrients above ground, this sort of root system contains a main root that travels downhill from the tree trunk and looks for a water source. The major root gives rise to smaller lateral roots.

Many common tree species, including oak, pine, hickory, sweetgum, tupelo, and walnut trees, have this kind of strong root structure.

System of Lateral Roots

Similar to what its name implies, this kind of root system extends out laterally and offers a sturdy foundation for the tree above.

Eighty percent of tree species have lateral roots, but since they are so ubiquitous, these kinds of trees aren’t necessarily good choices for urban settings.

The following common tree species have lateral roots:

rees such as ash, birch, cottonwood, hackberry, and maple

Heart Root System

The heart root system, also known as the oblique root system, creates a soil-filled root ball that gives the tree support. The root ball’s weight serves as a counterbalance and anchor for the tree’s above-ground part.

Although this system is fairly reliable in dry soil, it is more likely to malfunction in wet soil or in places that are subject to flooding. In dry regions like the Mediterranean, heart-rooted trees are rather widespread.

Heart root systems are widespread in a number of tree species found in the US, including:

Red oak trees, sycamore trees, and honey locust trees

Top 7 Small Trees with Non-Invasive Roots List

A number of trees, including Japanese maple, miniature Korean lilac, magnolia, apples, and dogwood, are considered non-invasive roots. When selecting your “little” tree, keep in mind that fast growth is defined as a tree growing more than 36 inches per year.

Without having to worry about the roots spreading towards yards, walls, or buildings, little trees with non-invasive roots can be planted close by. Small trees with non-invasive roots have the benefit of being resilient and less prone to collapse down in high winds, crushing your garden or fence.

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For stunning gardens, ornamental trees with non-invasive root systems are the ideal choice. Ornamentals can even be grown in pots and reach a reasonable height.

They may fit into smaller locations, are simple to maintain, and keep their desired form.

Japanese maple

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Japanese maple thrives in pots and is ideal for tiny settings. They come in a wide range of cultivars and leaf hues, including orange, green, red, and purple.

English Holly (Ilex Aquifolium)

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The English holly, also known as the Christmas or European holly, is a type of flowering broadleaf tree that may reach a height of 40 feet, however, they are most frequently seen in urban areas as small trees that are 10 to 15 feet tall.

American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)

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American hornbeams are deciduous hardwood trees that can reach heights of 30 feet. They are often referred to as Musclewood or Ironwood.

It is a common option for urban landscaping contexts since it thrives in damp soil, in naturalized areas, or when planted beside to streams or ponds. It is native to the eastern parts of North America.

Korean Dwarf Lilac

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This odd tree will provide you with little, dark-green leaves and blossoms that range from violet to reddish purple. The tree will produce several spring blooms and a subtle scent as soon as the buds start to emerge.


Top 7 Small Trees with Non-Invasive RootsPin

Large white blossoms on this tree, often known as a star magnolia, bloom before the leaves even start to unfold.


Top 7 Small Trees with Non-Invasive RootsPin

Due to their early spring flowering, they are particularly popular as ornamental trees. Even as mature trees, they continue to be somewhat little. Watch out for the Royal Raindrops and the Red Gem.

Kousa Dogwood

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This is also known as the Chinese dogwood or the Japanese strawberry tree. The tree grows only 12 to 24 inches every year.

This tree’s profusion of spring blossoms is wonderful, and people frequently grow it for this reason.

The Best Fruit Trees with Non-Invasive Roots

Many fruit trees fall under the category of having non-invasive roots. You may be confident that the roots won’t go near your water pipes or septic tank system as well as that it will look lovely and produce fruit.

The important thing to remember in this situation is that the roots will adapt to the tree’s size and not spread out too much if you cut it to a reasonable size.

  • Dwarf Apricot
  • Dwarf Plum
  • Dwarf cherry
  • Pawpaw
  • Dwarf Pears
  • Dwarf Orange
  • Dwarf Orange
  • Dwarf Apple

The fig tree is among the worst fruit plants to grow if you want to avoid invasive roots. If you do decide to get one of these, be careful to place it far away from your home, pool, hot tub, and septic tank system since it is a water-hungry plant and its roots will entwine with any water source it can locate.

The Best Evergreen trees with Non-Invasive Roots

Remember that non-invasive trees with fibrous, shallow roots require adequate drainage, so make sure to verify this before planting.

  • Bronze Loquat
  • Rhododendron
  • Native Frangipani
  • Paulownia
  • English Holly
  • Australian Willow
  • Illawarra Flame Tree
  • Olive tree

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Safe Trees for Septic Tanks

I’ll include a choice here that won’t harm anything just to show how nervous I was the first time I wanted to plant anything next to a sewage tank. Nothing prevents you from growing there just because you have a septic tank.

Instead, you ought to put some vegetation there to stop erosion. Additionally, plants will take up moisture from the drainage region.

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Because of their weak roots, perennials and grasses thrive under these conditions. Plants like Creeping Charlie and Jewelweed both function well.

Because there is a danger of introducing hazardous germs, you should not cultivate plants near the drainage region that you want to consume. Therefore, stay away from planting your vegetable garden there.

Several plants that are appropriate for septic areas:


Cherry trees require soil that drains properly. They will be satisfied in fertile soil. Being smothered by other trees is one thing they dislike.

You should place them where they receive eight hours of sunshine each day since they like the sun.

Azalea shrubs

They begin to blossom in the spring and continue to bloom for a while. They enjoy being put next to or even underneath other trees and can endure shadow.

Japanese Maple

All four seasons are beautiful for these plants. Seasonally, the tree’s stem changes hue, and its leaves turn yellow or gold with pink tips.

English Holly

Evergreen, deciduous, shrubby, and climber species may all withstand tropical to temperate climates.


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Any garden would benefit greatly from the ornamental value of this tree. They demand a lot of water, so if you provide it, they will be content.


Top 7 Small Trees with Non-Invasive RootsPin

Boxwood’s growth pattern will be round. It is evergreen and frequently grows on a rocky incline. Boxwood is frequently used for topiary and creates a great hedge and border.

Worst Trees for Septic Tanks Are

  • Aspen
  • Weeping willow
  • Pussywillow
  • Ash
  • Birch
  • Elm
  • Maple trees other than the Japanese maple
  • Pussywillow
  • Fig

These trees will travel actively in search of nutrients regardless of where they acquire their water from and will go right for it. They have been known to demolish several septic tanks since they are not selective eaters!

Generally speaking, you should place your tree as far from the tank as it is tall. For instance, if your tree will be 30 feet tall when it is fully grown, put it 30 feet away from the tank. Many people desire to erect a barrier that will restrict the roots’ ability to spread if you are unable to give them that much room.

The Top 7 Small Trees With Non-Invasive Roots, in Conclusion

It is always important to consider the size that a new plant will attain when designing a front garden for a new home or even after moving into a new house and wanting to add plants to the garden. In the future, it would be pointless to have to take the tree down since it had gotten so big that it completely blocked the light from the room.

You should be able to ask any garden center about the plant’s potential full size. The root structure is equally crucial since having to shift the path after roots break it is the last thing you need. Furthermore, you shouldn’t allow invasive roots to grow close to your home, sewer, or septic system.

If there is something nearby that they can grow toward and harm, pick plants with non-invasive roots. Never undervalue a plant’s roots’ ability to seek out water and nutrients. There is no reason why you cannot have one of the greatest little trees with non-invasive roots just where you want them with a little consideration and preparation.

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