We have a cherry tree, and neighbours, which is only about 4 years old, and I would say about 5 metres high. Neighbours are worried that its roots might eventually damage supply/drainage pipes in front of the house, which are possibly about 6 6 -8 metres away.

Do I have to worry?

Can I keep the tree pruned to a height of about 4 metres in order to slow or stop root growth?

Many thanks.

  • cherry grown for edible fruits, or purely ornamental blossom?
    – Bamboo
    Apr 4, 2014 at 16:19
  • I think the tree is supposed to produce edible fruit. Apr 4, 2014 at 20:37

3 Answers 3


Tree pruning will not necessarily slow root growth. The best way to deal with the possibility of roots getting into things they shouldn't is to

  • Dig a trench about six to eight inches deep between you and your neighbours at a convenient location.
  • Then go to your hardware store and buy some 40 or 60 millimeter pool liner. Usually food grade for ornamental ponds is best.
  • cut the liner into strips that are the depth of the trench.
  • insert liner
  • backfill
  • job done!

This takes advantage of the fact that most tree roots are within six inches of the surface. An impermeable membrane like the pool liner will provide peace of mind at minimal cost. You can put paving stones or sod over the trench and you won't even know it's there.


You will need to do something, as its a cherry tree, and a fruiting one at that, particularly if you haven't bought one on a dwarfing rootstock. Otherwise, I agree with Kevinsky's answer, its worth a try. The problem with cherry in particular is that they are known to be surface rooters, and do have a tendency to put out long roots just below the ground. Often, after some time, those roots are quite visible on the surface, and may in fact start producing growth themselves, so your neighbours are right to be a bit concerned.


It's unlikely that any drainage pipes will be that close to the surface so any roots should just pass overhead.

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