En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - February 02, 2009

From: Albany, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Madrone too close to house in Oregon
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have a small Madrone tree (8ft tall) located approximatly 15 feet from my house, with a basement. Should I remove it? ie will it damage the foundation and is the tree strong enough that it will not drop on the house as it gets larger?


This is what the US Forest Service says about Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone):

"Once established, Pacific madrone is windfirm, drought enduring and somewhat tolerant of wet, freezing conditions."  They also say that the root system is widespread and massive.

So, in answer to your question about whether the madrone is likely to fall on your house, I would so "no, not very likely." In answer to whether the roots are going to damage the foundation, I would say "possibly", but fifteen feet is a pretty good distance from your house for the roots to spread without damaging your foundation.

Given that there is concern about The Decline of the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) and the fact that it is a beautiful tree, it would be a real shame to cut it down.  It might be possible to transplant it, but UBC Botanical Garden forum says that Pacific madrone is difficult to transplant since they are prone to disease and the process of transplanting injures roots so that pathogens are more likely to have an opportunity to invade.  Oregon State University Extension Service also points out the difficulty in transplanting the Pacific madrone.    You can see other posts concerning The Genus Arbutus on the UBC Botanical Garden forums.

In case you decide to try transplanting, here are a couple of informative articles on transplanting trees from the Agricultural Extension Service of the University of Tennessee and from North Dakota State University.

Also, you might contact the Linn County Office of Oregon State University for local assistance in your decisions about your madrone.


More Trees Questions

Summer flowering small trees for NY
April 20, 2011 - Request recommendations about trees for terrace. Would like flowers or color in summer; not spring. (Some of my trees are twenty five feet high.) Full sun, some wind, large containers. Please recomme...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Hollies in winter
January 12, 2010 - I want to transplant, relocate holly trees in January. Is that ok, and what is the best holly for landscaping?
view the full question and answer

Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
November 18, 2011 - What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?
view the full question and answer

Inflorescence of the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
December 28, 2007 - What kind of flower inflorescence do sycamores have?
view the full question and answer

Is a permit needed to plant liveoaks on property or on easement
May 25, 2007 - My house is located behind 1431 in Williamson county My backyard faces 1431 hwy and the noise and view aren't pleasant. I'm trying to plant some live oaks behind the wall and, of course, some in m...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center