So, my official zone is too cold (4B) for even hardy figs, but I have a patch of microclimate on the south side of my house that I would guess could be as much as a full zone higher than the rest of the yard. I can overwinter plants there that should not overwinter here.

I would love to plant a fig for my husband. He grew up with one in his backyard and misses fresh figs. However, the spot where I think the tree would grow best is just a few feet from the foundation of my house. I understand fig roots can do a lot of damage, so in general the trees should not be planted near a foundation - but is that still true for trees that are on the far northern edge of their range and will be dying back to the ground every winter?

  • I have figs growing wild right up against my barn. Its the only place where the heat and drought doesn't kill them. Its a fairly shady spot under some big oak trees. I didn't plant them, they were producing figs when I moved in 7yrs ago. Maybe the birds planted them. I haven't noticed any damage to the barn foundation and would be surprised to ever see any.
    – Randy
    Jul 18, 2013 at 16:34
  • Thank you for the anecdote. I'm thinking it may be worth giving a try.
    – michelle
    Jul 22, 2013 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


The times when tree roots damage poured concrete foundations are few and far between. However tree roots will grow in search of water and grow into water pipes. If your foundation does not have any cracks,water from gutters and eaves drains at least six feet (2 M) from the foundation and there are no water pipes near the planting area you should not have any problems.

If you were still concerned you could waterproof the foundation near where the tree was to be planted by trenching and using plastic wrap. It is quite a bit of work and beyond the scope of this forum but given the weather North America has been experiencing prevention is never a bad thing.

  • Great info - thanks kevinsky. I know our water pipes enter the house on the opposite side of the building. I suspect the sewer leaves on the same side, and our gutters drain well away from the house. I could add a gutter extension, too, just to be safe and will look into waterproofing the foundation. Thanks for all the ideas!
    – michelle
    Jul 22, 2013 at 14:06

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