How close is too close for plants to a building?
This photo illustrates the condition of vegetation too close to the structure. If you cannot get between the structure and the vegetation then the vegetation is too close. 24 inches is a good rule of thumb, but the practical rule is to be able to make it all the way around the foundation without having to go around any tree or shrub. Imagine walking around the building with your shoulders not touching vegetation. If you have to turn sideways to get behind a bush or worse, crawl, then the vegetation is way to close. Keep your foundation clear or pests will be near.
This condition begins when small, young plants are installed near the foundation. As the mature the result is an ornamental continuously growing and ending up pressed against the structure. Proper planting will prevent the situation. Managing your ornamental plants with proper pruning will mitigate the condition.
What can happen if I have plants too close to a building?
Left unchecked vegetation touching the house will continue to grow. This will lead to insects in and rot on the structure. If the vegetation is pruned off the structure so it is not touching, it is important to allow air to circulate around the perimeter. If it is too close the plants keep air movement at a minimum resulting in fungal growth on siding at a minimum to more severe cases of rot and wood degradation. Pest issues from vegetation touching the house include black and varied carpet beetles, house centipedes, spiders and ants. For successful pest control, vegetation must not touch or overhang a structure. Set up a free pest control inspection.