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There is a small retaining wall on my property, made of wooden blocks. It is slowly deteriorating, so I had an expert come to check it out: they said it would be good for at least another 10 years, but likely would have to be replaced in the following 5 years after that.

Could it possibly be a good idea to plant trees right above the current wall in the hope that by the time the wall starts to be in need of a replacement, the trees' roots are deep & strong enough to fill the same role and prevent erosion?

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If your desire is to replace a retaining wall with a natural grade and trees, the best approach would be to remove the wall, level out the grade the way you want, and plant whatever you want on your new little hill to help prevent its erosion.

Planting things above the wall in the hope they naturally fulfill your vision is very optimistic. Large trees are more likely to destroy the wall and then become unstable themselves.

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  • The last sentence is the money. Tree roots will lift and crack concrete driveway slabs, there's no reason to think they'd reinforce a failing retaining wall. They'd only work to destroy it faster.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 18:08

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