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Native Shrub and Tree - how close to house is ok?

Posted by akle 10 (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 3, 11 at 1:50


I am in Los Angeles in Zone 10 (inland) and have a 1920s bungalow. I'm thinking of planting a Mexican Elderberry (Sambucus Mexicana) and a Birch Leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides) to the east of the house, next to a cinder block fence. It would get partial sun (2 hours below 8 feet high and 5 hours above 8 feet high. Is planting it 6 feet from the house safe for the foundation? I read on UFEI ( that it has low rot damage potential so hoping this could work. On the UFEI site, it says roots rarely damage foundations but I have heard of problems.


Here is a link that might be useful: UFEI - root damage

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Native Shrub and Tree - how close to house is ok?

In addition to potential root damage, consider the mature width of the plants. If the Cercocarpus gets wider than 12 at maturity then you will have to prune it to keep it away from the house and that will affect it's shape. More work for you and not so good for the plant either.

So research the mature width and divide by two - that would be the distance from the house at a minimum. If 10 feet, then divided by 2 equals 5 feet and therefore planting it six feet away is ok.

RE: Native Shrub and Tree - how close to house is ok?

I wonder if the elderberry might get a little large to be that close to the house. I just checked a couple of sources and saw mature widths of 12 to 20 feet, which fits with the general I have from noticing them in the wild.

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