Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

Final size of a Texas mountain laurel
August 11, 2014 - I have purchased a Texas Mountain Laurel. The plant tag says it will grow 25 to 35 feet. LBWF plant data base says 10 to 15 feet. Which data should I go with? It's either plant close but not close to...
view the full question and answer

Live oak trees buzzing in Taylor TX
October 20, 2012 - Is it possible for live oak trees to make a buzzing sound? We have heard this sound under our live oak and were worried it was bees but we don't seem to see any. I also heard the buzzing under my mot...
view the full question and answer

Speed of growth on plants from Plant Sale from Austin
April 28, 2012 - Hello, I recently attended the native plant sale and bought several plants for a sunny curbside bed in central Austin. Due to financial constraints I stuck with the 3 inch varieties so I could buy 3 ...
view the full question and answer

Montana native plants to create a garden with edible plants
January 14, 2013 - Hi Smarty Plants We are looking to create a native herb, vegetable, root, fruit, flower and ground cover garden for the area of Hot Springs, Sanders County, Montana. Our zone is 4 and soil is mostly ...
view the full question and answer

Would like suggestions for a tree or bush to be given as a memorial gift for friends in Austin, TX.
April 26, 2011 - Hello, I would like to give a memorial gift of a tree and/or bush native to the Austin area to friends living there. Any suggestions? Local vendors would be appreciated also. Thanks very much!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.