Tree Roots

by Dennis Barnes
(Baroda, Michigan)

This is a question about tree roots. We currently have a Tulip tree in our front yard, 8 feet from the home. The roots are now impacting our basement wall and it is necessary to excavate around the front and correct the situation.

My question: What type of tree has a compact root system that can be planted near a structure without having it put a large amount of pressure on the structure walls. We would like a small tree (25 foot mature) and flowering if one exists.

Appreciate your insight.
Denny & Bev Barnes


Hi Denny and Bev,
Tree roots can be a problem. They impact homes, pipes, sidewalks and so on. Tree roots can go into sewers and can be unsightly if they are on the surface and become exposed.

A Tulip Tree is a HUGE tree...or can become one over the years. It's known as the tallest tree in the forest.

Smaller trees such as Dogwoods, Amelanchier, and Star Magnolias should not give you this problem. They don't get that large and therefore their roots should not overtake. Go here to read about more ornamental trees.

Another tree to consider is the Chanticleer Pear tree. A few years ago I was looking for a tree with non-invasive roots as they were to be placed near a septic field. I spoke with Bartlett Tree Company, (well known and respected in the tree industry), and this was one of the trees they suggested. Over time, it will get a little taller than what you specified, but it's tree roots shouldn't be a problem. It's one of the first landscape trees to flower in the spring with white flowers. It's also one of the last to turn fall color.

Comments for Tree Roots

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Apr 27, 2013
tulip tree roots NEW
by: Sandy

Is it safe to have tulip tree that is about 15ft from a home with a basement?

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