I have almost 100m of Victorian brick wall bordering my garden

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I want to line the inside with flowering cherries so they overhang the drive, how close can I plant them without risking damage? Or are such trees unlikely to cause problems to this wall?

The type I have chosen is Prunus Pink Perfection

You'll note in this photo you can just see some trees on the left. I have large (diameter 6-8") holly trees a few feet away and even some yew/leylandii/laurel tree only 1-2 feet away. No signs of damage to the wall but I don't know how the roots vary by tree type.

I should add that I do not know how far down the wall extends but given it is 7-8 feet high, it must have some sort of foundation? Additionally, the road itself is hard-packed. So I'm wondering if this would act as a natural barrier - the roots would 'bounce' off?

I'd really love the trees right next to the wall so they hang over the drive - what can I do to protect the wall if this is required?

3 Answers 3


Cherry roots are quite superficial, so I would not recommend to put near a wall. The plant can grow in a rocky place, but there is a risk that the roots will find a little crack, and then it can damage the wall. I expect that the wall has not deep foundation.

If you want flowers, you can eventually change Prunus species, or you can choose Prunus cerasus (sour cherry). very similar to normal cherries, but the tree remain small (cherry tree growth quickly and tall).


There's a similar question here so because cherry tree roots are quite superficial and spreading, they can damage structures such as walls. So, keep the trees 20 feet from the wall.

Or, you could try growing the tree in an air-pot which would prevent surface root spread.

Prunus serrula

This is Prunus serrula 3-4 m high from a UK nursery, and other nurseries might have the Prunus you want.

  • Those two links seem contradictory... The first advocates not putting trees close to a house but claims damage from the roots is unlikely.
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 0:20
  • House and wall foundations are quite different. The former are quite deep, the latter shallow which allows them to be undermined by shallow roots Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 1:50
  • Not come across air-pots before. It's just basically a rigid fine mesh that lets nutrients pass but not roots?
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 18:12
  • Increases root aeration while pruning the root tips Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 22:27

It depends on the type of cherry, if its a wild variety- then the above information is correct, no closer than 20ft mainly because of their surfacing root pans, plus if your gardening near the base this will send up suckers and this will complicate things. However if you go for a miniature type of cherry, possibly a Japanese variety they can be quite small and slow growing, some I've seen are no bigger than a large beach ball, and to quicken up things often enough growers have grafted varieties to give instant height. If you still wish to continue with using cherries in this this fashion then perhaps a technique called root pruning can be used- however its a very old technique and is rarely used today- plus its a lot of work- the other technique is one that Victorian gardeners used in containing the roots within an underground brick walled container, often used in fig growing- but should do the same thing- i'm sure one could custom this technique with modern materials and budgets to get close to the effect one wishes.
The pot in a pot idea is correct however the Victorian plan was to be something more substantial that would be there for years without breaking.

  • LIke a pot in pot technique? Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 22:50

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