Apparently, what used to be a foundation for a small house is now part of our backyard. The house is long gone, but the concrete foundation has been there for as long as anyone can remember. Is there a species of tree that I can plant on or near the foundation to purposely break it? Time is not a concern.

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    Asking "why" might be very relevant to the answer — What is the end result you are going for? Why do you want to employ a tree for this job? Removing a cleared foundation is easy work with the right equipment. But adding a huge, root entwined root system would seem to only complicate the project (not to mention possibly the tree/stump removal that follows). Also, what growing zone do you live in? Jan 22, 2013 at 18:44
  • The aim is for the concrete to crumble, so that it could be carried away in small pieces. Nobody cares enough about the foundation to take a few days to properly remove it. Perhaps carrying small bits of stone for 20 years would have been more feasible. However, the foundation is within 50 feet from the actual residence. That is a deal breaker. We live in zone 5.
    – Moshanator
    Jan 22, 2013 at 20:13
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    I can think of three big problems with the idea of carrying away "small bits of stone for 20 years". The first is that people will lose interest and the job will be half finished. The second is that remove concrete from underneath a tree is going to be difficult/impossible without removing the tree. The final problem is that if you are taking 20 years to clear a site, you have to put up with a building site for 20 years. Mar 15, 2017 at 13:41
  • You seem to be looking for a way to make it disappear without any real effort. I'm afraid that can't be done. Either remove it properly or think how it can be incorporated into your plans for the garden. Mar 15, 2017 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


You could plant a large, broadleaved tree (Oak for instance) near the foundation, but I wouldn't advise planting it on top. Over the years, the roots may, or may not, advance sufficiently to crack the foundation that's there, but equally, they may choose to spread in a different direction. The other consideration is how close the obsolete foundation is to your own, current residence - if it means planting a large tree such as an oak within 50 feet of that, I wouldn't recommend it, for you will be putting the foundations of your own house at risk.

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    Even if the tree breaks up the concrete all that you end up with is part of your property has chunks of concrete buried deep down. Not a pleasant thing for a future owner to discover or you to remember later.
    – kevinskio
    Jan 20, 2013 at 17:50

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