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Let's say my town fruit is pears, and I plant 3-4 orange trees in a cluster for ease of picking. Can a new villager pick that exact spot for his house and destroy my ability to get oranges? And if so, is there anything I can do to stop this?

Does the answer change if it's perfect pear trees?

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    Note that if your orchard is more than 4 trees wide it's extremely unlikely for it to be removed, as a villagers home wipes a 5x5? area or so, and it's extremely unlikely two villagers will move in on the orchard in so short a time that they'll remove all trees (if they can even move in that close to each other) – Ben Brocka Sep 6 '13 at 10:45
  • If you plant trees in a spot that is too small for houses to be placed down, you'll be safe. – DekuLeaf Sep 14 '13 at 0:09
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Yes, they will. Villagers are able to move in on top of trees, bushes, etc. On the other hand, their houses are unable to spawn on rocks, PWPs or other houses. Villagers can spawn on fossils, but when they do so, the fossil is relocated to another part of the map.

(However, it is possible to "assign" the villagers a spot to place their houses. You can do this by leaving an empty plot in your village. Most villagers we like this spot and will thus build their house there. I cannot fully confirm this though.)

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    How close can they get to another house? Can I plant a small orchard near another house or a rock to prevent it being destroyed? – Yamikuronue Sep 5 '13 at 17:33

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