Tree Root Problem

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I've got tree roots from a maple tree growing dangerously close to a concrete slab and was hoping someone might have an effective way of dealing with an issue like this short of swinging the axe. Chainsaws and grinders in my experience haven't been too effective. The link below shows the problem and thanks very much for any ideas.
http://home.nctv.com/ajns/roots.jpg
Chris
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Go to a local metal shop and order some plate aluminum or stainless steel. Make it 12" "deep" by around 3-4' long and manually insert them right up against the concrete and even with the top of the dirt. Roots can't get past solid metal.
Not really frugal cost-wise if you're not a long term resident, but just about permanent.
I have one of these at my home now if you want me to shoot a photo...
Joe in Northern, NJ - V#8013-R
Currently Riding The "Mother Ship"
Ride a motorcycle in or near NJ? http://tinyurl.com/5apkg http://www.youthelate.com
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Joe skrev:

You don't need metal plates. Fabric root barrier is used now to prevent roots from growing under sidewalks but the problem I see is installing either.
Here's one: http://www.geo-synthetics.com/Biobarrier_Root_Fabrics.asp
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Years ago I heard that plants can't stand copper. If that's true, maybe some copper tubes strategically placed will turn the roots away from the slab. Does anyone know if this really works?
Paul
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All of the above solutions were considered, and are good, but in my similiar situation, I choose to redo the patio because it was also the finished edge of a new addition to the house. I dug a 12" wide by 15" concrete footing trench along the perimeter of the patio, included rebar, and I placed foam board in the trench for a vapor seal along the face, prior to pouring in the concrete. Tree roots seek out water, and won't penetrate surfaces where there is none. For this work you'll have to cut tree roots, which may not be so bad because it appears that the surface roots you have may be seeking after shallow irrigation water. I'd irrigate infrequently, but when you do deep water the tree roots to keep them in the ground.
Pavel314 wrote:

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Well, alge is a plant right? Here's one case where you kill a plant with copper. The dark/black alge that grows on roof shingles in more humid areas.
http://www.askthebuilder.com/printer_082_Black_Algae_Stains_On_Asphalt_Shingles.shtml
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Root Kill for treating roots in sewer drains is a copper compound. I used that brand name product for several years semi-annually instead of calling roto rooter.
On Sat, 12 Aug 2006 19:27:07 -0400, "Pavel314"

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snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net wrote:

Rock salt down the sewer is just as effective at a fraction of the price, works great as long as your underground piping isnt steel, which very few are.
Most bad lines are terracotta pipe, the trees love all those joints:(
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Our softener used salt and the slurry discharged in the main line didn't stop the roots. Root Kill package was about $5.00 and would be used in about 1.5 years. I didn't consider it pricey.
wrote:

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Copper will definitely kill tree roots... and they do make copper nails in different sizes, from roofing nails to very large ones... check with local hardware store that might be able to order them for you. .... Also something called ""Copper Sulfate"" crystals will also kill tree roots.. Hope this helps.... ~ Webb ~
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On Sun, 13 Aug 2006 12:46:44 -0400, web413 snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Webb 413) wrote:

Wonder how it would work to trench the area and pour this stuff directly into the trench as a barrier. Assume maybe that's what you're talking about ???
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I seem to be having a problem posting so if this is posted with my other post sorry but I don think the first one went through. You know chris this is probably the number 1 reason we are called out for diveway bids and the fact of the matter is that the fix is very simply and only needs to be done once a year. Go purchase what is called a straight edge spade, or long spade picture if you will a flat shovel that is about 7-8" wide by maybe 13-15" long with a short handle. Simply run this along the edge of the slab atleast halfway down more if you can and this cuts off any feeler roots that are heading twards trouble..once a year is all you need to do it .....If you already have larger roots you really have no choice but to dig next to the slab and but them off after doing this do what I have explained above. We have replaced dozens and dozens of driveways that have been raised up by roots and we allways cut the roots from 6-12" back from the slab and instruct the customer as I have above...havent had a call back yet if you have any doubts talk to a arborist about root growth patterns and he will tell you this is an effective controll..
cover wrote:

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dangerously close? Those look like fairly mature roots, many, right at the edge. The part of each of those roots that thins to needle size is well under the slab already is my guess.
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Have you considered using a trench digger for burying cables? A trench digger can make a trench about 3 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches deep quite easily. Put whatever barrier you want in there and back fill.
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Ron P wrote:

Here we have the classic example of a common problem with certain trees that have surface roots. The roots take up moisture and nutrients that prevent grass or other plants from growing. And they are more likely to cause problems with sidewalks than other trees that have deeper roots. Norway maples are well known for this problem.

It's also unclear how far from the tree trunk the slab is. Obviously, the farther away, the better the chance of being able to trench and install a steel barrier without killing the tree. If you're willing to do that and don't need anything to grow around the tree, it should work. If not, the other solution is removing the tree and replacing it with one that doesn't have surface root problems and is located farther away.
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Many thanks to all of you for your replies. Appreciate that very much. The tree is a fairly healthy size maple tree and the trunk is approximately 15' from the slab. A trencher just might be the easiest approach. Any thoughts on using an axe versus some sort of root saw if a person doesn't want to bring great harm to the tree. It's fairly mature and I hate to damage it too significantly but at the same time, have property to protect.
Chris
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cover said:

It was a poor choice of a tree to plant so close to a sidewalk (or a poor choice for a sidewalk location, as it wasn't specified which came first). In either case, maple roots grow quite horizontally. Severing the roots, will most likely damage the tree beyond recoverability, or will certainly disfigure it, probably in a short time.
--
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Eggs Zachtly wrote:

Or not. I planted an ash tree close to the sidewalk (over the former cesspool -- I figured it would send its roots straight down into the muck; I was wrong), and when the city people came through fixing sidewalks maybe 10 years ago they whacked off the roots about a foot from the sidewalk and put down some kind of root barrier. Damn tree gets cut back to a 15-foot stump every once in a while but it doesn't seem to have hurt it.
Check with an arborist. Maples are frequently used for bonsai, so they can't be too delicate.
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The Real Bev said:

As with the OP, that's a poor choice of a tree to put near a hardscape structure, but then you know that now, eh? I'll bet you research the next tree you plant, a little better. =)
And, I would *never* let a "city worker" touch a tree on my property. A good rule of thumb is don't plant things in, or near, a right-of-way or utility easement. Sooner or later, you're going to lose what you planted.

That's actually about the worst thing you can do to a tree. Don't belive me? As an arborist.

They're trained as bonsai from the beginning. They don't mature, and then have their roots severed. There's a HUGE difference.
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I wondered how something like that might work (a diversionary concept to draw the roots away from the slab). In the experience of those of you who have cut these roots, was an axe the best approach?

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