White pine near retaining wall - problem?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Budman, May 14, 2003.

  1. Budman

    Budman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Just wanted to get some professional insight about this issue.

    I have a basement entry door that has a concrete ramp that leads down to the door below grade. On either side of the ramp are concrete retaining walls. The prior occupants of the house planted a white pine approximately 5 feet from the retaining wall. At this point the tree is probably about 25-30 feet tall, with a trunk diameter of approximately 10 inches. I have not noticed any cracks or bowing in the wall yet, but I am concerned that the roots may grow into the wall in time and cause this to happen.

    Do I have a legitimate concern here, or will the roots just turn away from the wall?

    Thanks for any advice you can provide!
  2. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    The roots are not going to 'turn away' from the concrete wall. They will go right up next to it and then spread out just like a plant does in pot. As long as the concrete stays solid there ought not to be a problem, at least until the roots get much bigger.

    If the concrete is not thick enough to suppress the root growth (diameter) the wall may crack (like like sidewalks do). But keep in mind sidewalks are usually relatively thin compared to retaining walls. I'm guessing the wall is 6-8" or more wide.

    MO is don't worry about the wall but rather the tree. Having only 5 feet on one side for root growth makes it less strong on that side during severe wind storms esp when it gets bigger.

    My bet is the tree is more likely to have problems than the wall is.
  3. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,226

    the tree is 25-30 feet tall then the roots of that tree are from 50-60' in lenght and yes they do go out in a full 360 degrees. I wouldn't say the tree is weaker on that side of the tree though.

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