2m fig tree near new foundation for extension

1 Mar 2016
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Can we leave in situ a 15 year old+ fig tree which will be within 1m of a new ground floor extension we will soon be building? The foundations will be approx 1m to 1.2m deep. This is for England area.
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Check the nhbc foundation depth calculator. May also depend on your type of soil. Clay?
figs have low water demand, I expect your foundations are pretty much spot on , their roots can be quite invasive though
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Is there anything we can do. I heard about a root barrier, how does that work?
I doubt, fig roots are of the like of say bamboo, which can grow through most stuff but you would probably need to dig down below their influence.
Modern theory on root barriers is that whilst they do have an effect to stop root penetration, their efficacy is mainly down to the fact that they reduce the ground heave effect caused by the plants water requirements.
As much as I like fig biscuits, the tree will probably have to go. But check with the building inspector first - fig is not even on my tree table.

Figs are quite hardy and tolerant of being moved if you want to relocate it.

Btw, the problem with trees is rarely the roots damaging foundations, but the moisture they take from the ground.
On the NHBC list fig is a low demand tree, but their roots can spread like billy -oh so their area of influence can be quite large.
Sometimes removing a tree can have equally damaging consequences if foundations aren't built sufficiently deep as the voids left by rotting roots can fill with water and/or create ground movement.
Just had a work through on the NHBC calculator and things don't look too bad for a fully mature fig of maximum height, on high volume change soil, 1m away you are looking at about 1.6mfounds depth. here
Just out of interest, Woody figs can be temperamental bastards, some you just can't kill no matter what you do to them others just looking at them can be enough, but to be fair once mature they are fairly sturdy. the best bet with figs is to contain their roots when planting.

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