Three Questions w/ Pictures

Hi again,

I’d like to get the group’s opinion on three different issues:

  1. Water / Electrical Line
    I was planning to plant a row of fruit trees (peach and pear) along the driveway, but then remembered that the house water line from the street runs right along it (where the plastic pots are located). It was replaced in 2009 with plastic piping and buried about 3-4’ feet down. About 6-12" on top of that (in the same trench) is the solar panel electrical line back to the house encased in conduit. So that depth could be as little as 2’ but as much as 3’.

Two feet seems like I should avoid, but three feet seems doable? I’m not so worried about planting it, but should I be worried about the long term implications?

I’ll dig a test hole first to measure the actual depth. The sour cherry in the cage is probably already on top of it since I forgot until now.

  1. Cherry Tree Bridge Graft
    Can this sweet cherry tree be bridge grafted successfully? (I’ve never done that kind of graft.). Will the tree survive much longer? It’s been like this for 3+ years with no apparent effects - full canopy and vigor. Just wait for it to die and replace?

  1. Broken Apple Branch
    Where should I cut this broken apple branch? Cutting below it would lop off the leader.

Thanks for whatever thoughts you might have…


The easy one first: Cut off the broken apple branch as cleanly as you can. Something will grow to fill in the space one way or another.

Don’t know about cherries. Sorry.

A plastic water line should not have any problem with root incursion. Same with the conduit -I think. Are you concerned that you might need to service those lines in the future? Access might be an issue but I wonder if that’s likely to come up.



Understand you want to utilize your space but if your going to your going to need to establish some rules about it. Tree roots move lines around and they become a real pain when water lines break or other issues pop up. Try to avoid it when possible but that’s not always possible. In the event you plant something try to stick with something shallow rooted that you won’t miss if it’s gone like prime ark 45 blackberry bushes. If things got bad you could easily remove them. Think about a 40 foot pecan with a line problem under it when your 83 years old. Your sweet cherry seems OK usually those scar over on the trunk anyway. In Kansas wood ants burrow out the center of trees anyway. A friend asked me to look at why his cherries were having issues and I said because they are all hollow. Trees can take a lot. @marknmt gave you great advice I’m just giving another perspective on the graft. You could take a nail and pound it in the tree and nail that branch back on depending on how much you need that graft wood. Mark is right ofcourse that angle is weak so it’s best to remove it.


Like @clarkinks said, avoid planting anything big over your utility lines. You never know when you’re going to have a leak in your line, and if your tree is right over it, your tree is going to get dug up or at least severely damaged. I placed a tree about 5’ away from my preferred spot to avoid the water line. I would hesitate to dig over those lines. You can hit 3’ faster than you think.

Also, be sure to call 811 to have the utility companies mark out their infrastructure. It’s free, and required by law. It’s to protect you as much as the utility companies. If they screw up and mark the wrong location, you’re not on the hook for any damage.


I would not put a tree over a water, sewer, or electric line. Roots go too deep and the plant itself is a hassle to replace. Blackberry, raspberry, kiwi, grape - ok, roots are shallow and can be easily moved if an emergency arises, or replaced. Basically anything more permanent goes where it will never be a problem.
I would cut that branch right at the trunk, and let it grow over. Or figure out a way to cover the wound with the branch itself. Like remove wood and insert the top of the bark over wound, bottom still attached. Kind of a semi-bridge graft, but only if you can’t stand waiting for it to heal over.


I was going to suggest huckleberry, blueberry, cranberry, strawberry, and lingonberry. Basically any berries that have shallow roots would be a great fit above the lines, and put your trees at least 5 feet off the line as Jay mentioned.

Definitely call 811. It’s 3 business days before you can legally dig after doing so, and it removes your liability. I’ve seen some things, it’s worth the hassle, trust me.

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Thanks for the feedback everyone!

I’ll put some raspberries over the lines and move the trees elsewhere.

I also called blue stake to get the utilities marked for future reference…


Just throwing this out there…how about extra large pots with dwarf trees planted in them? Circle them with anti-deer perennials and with a hedge of fruiting bushes between each pot.

Regarding the cherry tree, I think if it is producing and healthy then it will eventually close that gap.

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I think the cherry will probably be fine, but I’ve also done bridge grafts on a cherry that saved it.

I do the kind with rooted rootstock. I cut a rectangular flap on the tree when the bark was slipping. Then I cut a chisel-shaped end on the new plant and tucked it under. It was easy to wrap up tight, so it was all very easy. Cherry bark+cambium is nice and thick and pulls up well when slipping.

Isn’t that an inarching graft? Or is inarching technically just a version of bridge grafting?

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That’s the term! I couldn’t think of it. I just know they’re always grouped in the sources I read. I’ve never done a bridge graft, just inarching.

Do you know of a good video of this method?

I don’t know of one, sorry. I just saw drawings before I did it. I’ll video it if it comes up again in my orchard.

It looks like to me your cherry has excellent callus to the previous wound. Nothing needs to be done unless bark begins falling off or a wound opens up. I see no reason to inarch graft at this time. There’s not enough room below the trauma spot for bridge grafting. It’s all inarch grafting for that tree should it have been necessary. The callus currently has nearly filled in the entire space where the previous trauma to the tree occurred. It looks great!