Here are some pictures https://imgur.com/a/kZmD1ng

enter image description here

Thanks for any thoughts or advice!

(the deck is on the to do list)

  • 1
    Classic "let's plant a tree here, it will be so cute" without considering the size it would grow to behavior, on the part of whoever planted that.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 16:48
  • Is this in California, Nevada, Arizona or other "wildfire country"? Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 18:07
  • 2
    Last I checked none of those states were in the north east US, but who knows, one of them may have applied for asylum and moved here while I wasn't looking.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 21:01
  • 1
    Maybe Harper is from Hawaii, so the rest of it is northeast. Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 22:40
  • Put a coat on that deck or have to replace it in 2y.
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 22:41

3 Answers 3


That really is too close to the foundation. At a minimum you should trim it so it doesn't contact the house. Longer term, I would indeed consider removing it. Transplanting isn't really an option.


I'm surprised it hasn't visibly damaged the house already at that distance.

The root system will be right underneath the foundations, undermining them & drying out the ground; worse on clay, but not good anywhere. idk about in the States, but in the UK there's no legal limit for how close a tree can be, but there are insurer's limits. Tree too close, you can't insure the property, or if it is insured & they later find the tree was to blame, no claim.

Spruce/pine trees aren't as bad as some others because their root systems are not as broad as some deciduous trees such as oak or willow, which require 30 - 40m space from a building, but the insurer's limit is still 7 metres [about 23ft].

I think you need an arborist & a structural engineer to come have a look.

Once the tree is gone, the ground may sink further initially, but later may heave as it is re-moisturised, so remedial work may need to be done in stages.

Just for info - here's a list of distances from a UK insurance broker. They're not really 'official', more of a guide. https://www.bickersinsurance.co.uk/about-us/latest-news/property-owners-news/a-list-of-trees-and-the-recommended-safe-distance-from-buildings/

  • I had a 25' for tree adjacent to my foundation when I moved it. It hadn't done obvious damage directly, but it was a highway to the roof for pests who were gnawing on my windowsills and it was stealing light from a solar panel. Gone now.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 18:50
  • Initially I had a dozen or more mature deciduous trees within 25m; I had to clear them all. In the UK you are allowed to clear sycamore, which are considered a weed, but 'nice' trees you have to get permission to touch. If they're inside 10m, permission is automatically granted. Most of them were in fact sycamore, but I had to get permissions for the birch which was nearest. Beautiful tree, hated to see it go, but it was killing the foundations. It's taken a decade for the heave to finalise. We're now stable. I planted meadow instead.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 18:55

Spruce trees don't "trim" very well. If you trim that back from the house the entire back side of the tree will be bare. The same goes for trimming back from the deck. From the photos it appears that the main trunk of the spruce tree is only about 2'or so from your roof edge. My recommendation would be to cut it down. If you like the look of a tree there, then you could have the stump removed and plant a decorative tree or shrub in its place that doesn't grow very big.

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