Question about planting fruit trees and French drains

Asked January 16, 2021, 2:02 PM EST

Hi there - I am planning to plant several fruit trees (apple, plum, peach, fig, cherry, and pomegranate) in my yard, and am wondering how close to a French drain it's ok to plant. Thanks for your help!

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

It will depend on whether the fruit trees you purchased are standard size, dwarf or semi dwarf. A general rule of thumb is that the root system length will be at least as long as the height of the tree. Standard size fruit trees can grow to at least 30 feet tall, semi-dwarf range from 14 to 16 feet tall, and a dwarf 8 to 10 feet tall. For example, a standard apple tree can reach at least 30 feet tall, so you would want to plant the tree at least 30 feet away from the French drain. Fig trees are known for having extensive root systems so you will want to plant the fig far away from the French drain. I suggest asking the nursery that you are purchasing your trees from what the size of the trees will be when fully mature. You can use this as an estimate for how far the roots will extend, but keep in mind that roots can extend beyond the crown canopy, so I suggest providing some extra space. You can find a little more information on this topic here: http://www.bio-septic.net/landscape-french-drains/