Norway spruce root system & hemlock question

myrtle_59May 19, 2008

We had to take down an 80 ft spruce to put an addition on the house last year. Behind this addition is a new retaining wall about where the spruce was.

The spruce was great for the birds and great for not seeing the neighbors. The contractor admonished me not to plant any 'big trees' close to his wall. It is well done but I know what big tree roots can do. I am 59 years old. In my lifetime ...

I want to put some spruce and/or hemlock above but near the wall (the property line is only about 15 feet behind the wall but it is steep woodsy nothing anyone is going to build on I don't think.

Am I correct that a spruce has a big tap root? Do you think that means I could plant within about 15 feet of this wall (tree would be on slope above it) and not worry about big roots heaving the wall out of place for about 30 years?

Comments on hemlock? I know spruce grows well here. I have lots of deer.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If the wall is any good the trees won't knock it over. Spruce doesn't have a tap root but that doesn't pertain anyway. The only issue would be if big trees right near the wall might affect it when they are big enough. In Zone 6 you are probably talking about 50 or 100 years before that might come up. Maybe small trees are adequate for your screen anyway.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 10:25PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I think 15 feet sounds like plenty of space between the tree and the wall, so I would go ahead and plant the spruce if you like. I would probably choose hemlock instead, since I like native plants and particularly like hemlock which should grow very well - it is common all over western PA. Deer will be a bit more of a problem with Hemlock than with Spruce, but either should be OK, I think.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:37AM
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cynandjon(Z 5/6)

Hemlock have shallow roots. I seen a fence made from hemlock. they planted them close together then cut them to about 6 feet so the trees got wider and thick. In our area of PA we have adelgid which is a parasite thats killing the hemlocks.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 8:07PM
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