Durian trees are generally excluded in residential lots or in public areas frequented by people. Even in plantations, anyone should be wary of taking shelter under the canopy specially without a protective head cap on.
When the trees are mature and fruiting, naturally falling fruits can possibly cause harm or injury to man or any property including roofs and parked cars. This is primarily because the fruit of durian can become both large and heavy, with a hard, spiny shell. The impact of a drop can be severe. The fruit naturally dehisces (separates) from the stem when ripe or otherwise drops even when still young due to various causes.
It is just natural, therefore, that in a residential lot with existing durian trees that are already old, large and tall, the first thing that comes to mind is to eliminate all these trees before constructing a residential building, even though they are located outside of the actual building site.This is because safety is a main consideration in a residential lot and there is no way of ensuring safety when fruiting durian is incorporated into the landscape design. But learn otherwise from the following thread of conversation:
Just this day (Sept. 20, 2012) I received a message from one of this site’s visitors via our Contact Us page. Here’s the message of Abdullah KC from Malaysia who was also generous to have granted permission for its publication:
Bravo! You have a well designed Site and it's very informative. I am very confident of your writings as they come from your life experience. I am a retiree of about 60 years of age. I am planning to build a house on a piece of land where about 20 durian trees have been planted more than 20 years ago. They are more than 30 feet tall now. I am cutting down and uprooting those standing in the way but keeping those not affecting the house construction even though they are close. The land is lateritic, gently sloping with a bedrock of metamorphosed sedimentary rocks. Some people have advised me to cut down all the durian trees because of safety. I want to keep them not so much for the fruits (the trees are not very productive now) but for its landscaping beauty. What is your advice? Hoping to hear from you soon.
Thank you from Malaysia.
Thank you so much for the wonderful comments. Yes, I believe that it is much better to cut down all those durian trees. I'm one who holds that cutting of trees becomes justified when they become weeds in the farm or when they pose danger to man or property. I apply the same consideration in preparing landscaping designs.
In your case, the ultimate object is to build a residential house. It means that people will be around. They will be expected to move around the lot with the possibility that some will pass under the durian trees or seek their shelter when it's hot. The possibility of accident from falling fruits is always there. Being old, those trees may topple anytime or branches may break, but these are always possible with any tree .
I agree though that the trees will enhance the landscape design. Those old trees with their large trunks will appear majestic and become focus of curiosity. You may therefore still opt to retain a few clustered trees provided that measures are put in place to eliminate the danger of falling fruits, etc. to man or roofing of your house. You may have to install a fence around the trees taking into consideration the suitability of the fence to the landscape design, or you may install some kind of netting to catch falling fruits.
And/or you may cut the trunk to a suitable height and manage the emerging shoots so that with time you will have - hopefully - large-trunked but short-statured durian trees. Fruits that may develop later can be tied to any branch to prevent accidental dropping.
This last option is a hit or miss, requires plenty of labor, and needs expertise in formative pruning. There is no certainty at all that those old trees will rejuvenate after drastic cutback specially so that the possibility of Phytophthora infection cannot be discounted.
Well, there always are plenty of ways to overcome any problem. Even in landscaping, there are practical methods of incorporating rather than excluding durian.
(Ben G. Bareja Sept. 2012)