Tree roots - can I cut them at all?

20+ years ago I planted a silver birch sapling which is now a beautul mature tree and the pride of my garden.
At the same time I laid a york stone patio right next to it. Unfortunately (if not surprisingly!) the tree roots have lifted and tilted several of the flagstones to the point that the patio is positively dangerous & needs to be re-laid
Can I cut back problem roots from the birch at all?? or do I have to raise the whole patio by the three inches necessary to clear them???
Any advice gratefully received
--
Steve Kind


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On Wed, 2 Jun 2010 07:07:47 -0400, Steve Kind

I'd shift the patio over to accomodate the tree. Do not pile dirt on the root area or you will kill the tree.
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The roots cannot be cut without risking death to the tree. You could raise the entire patio but the problem near the tree is likely to re-emerge. Why not just remove the raised flagstones and substitute a planter or bench or something?
    Una
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Thanks for the replies - I strongly suspected that root surgery was not an option! but raising the patio is going to be a BIG job - unfortunately, replacing the affected flags with benches / planters etc. won't do the job - about 20% of the flags have lifted to some extent along two differnt lines. Might be able to remove a couple of flags closest to the tree. Likewise, moving the patio is not an option - it is trapped between the tree and a wall on the south, the house on the northe, a wall on the west and the conservatory on the east!!
If I do raise the whole patio it will involve a 3-inch layer of sand accross the whole area - I'm a bit disturbed by the suggestion that this might in itself damage the tree :( I'm pretty certain the tree now has it's full growth and no further movement of the patio surface has taken place for a couple of years.
--
Steve Kind


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[...]

The roots in question are in sand (?) under flagstones already, so no big risk there.
How about lifting the flagstones that are raised, trimming them to better accomodate the roots, and putting them back down again? Done that way, you can do one flagstone at a time.
Care to share photos of this project?
    Una
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On Wed, 2 Jun 2010 19:47:49 -0400, Steve Kind

Healthy trees really don't stop growing. You're not noticing further root development due to heavy foot traffic around the tree, soil compaction will greatly shorten its life. Raising the soil level within ten feet of the tree will ensure it's demise. A masonary patio/walkway around any tree is a bad idea. Some people erect a low wooden deck around trees over the affected portion of the patio... some install a decorative wrought iron grate around a tree, composed of many panels... regardless I'd remove those stones... I'd remove all those stones to use elsewhere and erect proper decking. You'd get much better advice were you to post pictures... without actually seeing what you're talking about all anyone can offer is wild speculation.
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x-no-archive: yes
On 6/2/2010 7:47 PM, Steve Kind wrote:

This info may help:

Susan
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On Wed, 2 Jun 2010 07:07:47 -0400, Steve Kind

Cutting tree roots is definetely not good for the tree. It may not be so beautiful after the roots are severed. Roots need air circulation too. Removing a beautiful tree sounds more practical than raising a patio though.
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As the guys above have said I would try to avoid cutting the heavier roots, as you are more than likely going to damage the whole tree. There is a right time of year to move plants and if you have ever seen people that sell larger trees it might be worth giving a tree plantation person to see if they can help.
'Phisherman[_3_ Wrote: > ;889833']On Wed, 2 Jun 2010 07:07:47 -0400, Steve Kind

--
Chris Baker


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