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Anna, Biologist, Gardening Expert
Category: Landscaping
Satisfied Customers: 11421
Experience:  I am a biologist with experience in water gardening, and growing trees, ornamental plants, and vegetables.
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I just purchased a home with 2 ornamental pear trees in the

Customer Question

Hello, I just purchased a home with 2 ornamental pear trees in the back yard. The trees are mature, around 30 feet tall. The trees are only about 8 feet from the foundation of the house. do I need to consider immediate removal to protect my foundation? How do I determine if the foundation is at risk?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landscaping
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with a special interest in trees. I would like to help you today.

There are many varieties of ornamental pears, and some have root systems that are more troublesome than others. We can't tell by looking at them which variety you have. However, it is recommended that all varieties be planted as far away from structures as the diameter of their canopy. So, if the crown of these trees is more than 8 feet across, they are too close to the foundation. That being said, you can examine the area to see if the roots have spread toward the house. The root system is shallow, and if you dig down about 6 inches near the foundation, you should find roots if any are present. If you do, the trees may cause problems. Sometimes the roots even grow on the ground surface and you can see them.

Almost any tree planted that close to a foundation could cause problems, so if you take down the pears, it would be better to replace them with small shrubs or perennials.

If you have more questions, just let me know in a REPLY. I hope that whatever you decide to do, it will work out well.


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Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
Do you need any additional information? If so, let me know what you need.
If you're satisfied with the information you've received, please take a moment to rate my service. I don't receive credit for my time until nail you do. Thank you very much.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Helo, Sorry for the late response. I dug down about 3 feet along the foundation today and found very small roots, none touching the foundation. I haven't checked the largest tree yet. I can provide pictures if you feel that could better diagnose the situation. I do know that a sidewalk 4 feet from the tree is raised up considerably by the roots. I also don't know the depth and root structure of the trees.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
The depth and root structure of the trees depends on several factors, including type of soil, availability of water, and age of the trees. In general ornamental pears have a shallow, spreading root structure. As I said above,mso e varieties are more troublesome than others. Since you dug down three feet and no roots are touching the foundation, if the smaller tree is truly mature, it is not likely to cause problems. You can do the same for the other tree. If none of its roots are touching the foundation either, you probably have varieties that have the less spreading roots.
One situation where they could cause a problem is drought or dry spells. Roots grow to seek out water under those circumstances, and there are usually water pipes in basements and crawl spaces. If you decide to leave the trees in place, just be sure to water them well during dry spells. The best way to do that is to set a hose turned on to a trickle at the base of the tree. Let it run until the soil is soaked, probably an hour or two. The tee's roots then won't need to 'travel' to find water.
I'd be happy to take a look at your pictures. You can upload a photo by clicking on the paper clip icon in the tool bar at the top of the REPLY field. Instructions will pop up.

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