Cost benefit – 8 globe cedars planted near house


I am in Humber Heights Toronto and I recently moved into a house with 8 globe cedars planted directly abutting the north wall. I am worried these might affect the foundation or cause water in the basement. To be safe, should I pull them out? OR, are their root systems benign to my new house? I do not know the variety – if they are dwarf or not. Thank you.


Congratulations on your new home.

In general, conifer roots are less likely to cause damage to foundations than deciduous tree roots. If you had a home inspection done, the inspector should have noted any existing damage to the foundation and mentioned any concerns.

Do you have any idea how old these cedars are? They appear to be about 2 feet in size. If they are mature, i.e. have been in place for several years, then they are probably “Danica” , “Teddy” or “Mr. Bowling Ball”, the smallest of the dwarf varieties.

However, be aware that Globe cCedars range in mature size from the large  ‘Woodwardii’ which can reach 4-8 feet and 10 feet wide, to varieties such as Rheingold,” “Fire Chief,”  and “Little Giant” which all become approximately 2-4 feet high and wide. All of these are too big for the space you have.

These plants appear to be quite crowded, already, so I am concerned that they are not the very small varieties and as they grow, they will become misshapen and bend away from the wall.

I would recommend that you make the foundation bed much deeper, i.e. further extending into the lawn. Usually, you should plant shrubs by at least half the distance of their mature spread from your house’s foundation. Even very small shrubs should be at least 18″ to 24″ away from the foundation.

Once you make the foundation bed deeper, moving the cedars away from the house, you will have the opportunity to make the design more interesting also, perhaps adding some native groundcovers. You don’t say what the conditions are in that bed, but you can see what plants might be suitable by referring to our Gardening Guide:

And of course, you might prefer to create an attractive mixed bed of native shrubs, perennials and annuals once you have the space! Here is some advice we gave another inquirer:

You may also wish to checknout our Gardening Guides on Gardening with Native Shrubs and Ornamnetal Shrubs for Various Light Conditions

Good luck with making that foundation bed a real asset to your new home.

August  21, 2022