Big oak and your foundation

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I have a big oak in my front yard. Gorgeous tree. It was planted by the original owner in 1978. As you an imagine it is large. The roots have really screwed up my driveway. And i am sure it is already under the house.
What can you do?
I have heard guys tell me to go out as far as I can an dig a ring and then cut all the roots I can see,. Cut a 3 foot piece out of them and that will stop alot ( not al) of the roots getting up under the foundation of the house.]
This doesnt seem right with me but had to ask if there are alternatives OTHER than cutting down,
thanks in advance
Tazz
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Maybe you should post a picture of tree and house. I'm just an old homeowner but maybe a tree person would reply. In my experience a lot of developments are over treed. I think if tree has potential of threatening house during storm, it should be removed. I had to do this with a large maple. I don't think a large tree should be planted within 100 ft of a house.
I have a guy that does tree work and sells me firewood. On his last trip I asked him to look at a pine that is a little close and he said it was OK. You could probably find an arborist (sic) to give an opinion at no cost.
Frank
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An Arborist is trained to deal with this kind of problem. TB
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Trees rarely cause troubles UNDER homes, other than clogged sewer lines. They do lift sidewalks.
Trees do damage homes in storms but add greatly to homes value, espically trees like oaks.
sometimes thousands of dollars
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Root barriers can inhibit the growth of the root system, the effectiveness of root barriers is perhaps worth investigating- for example, you may fing that in ten years you would need to repeat the process.

material will affect the tree; it will endeavour to replace the loss of energy (roots in this instance) as this loss will have a corresponding affect upon the crown of the tree -there will be crown die back. The die back will result in dead wood (many oaks tend to decline and die slowly) in the crown. Dead wood is more susceptible to fail under duress- such as high winds, especially gusts- the falling dead wood poses a hazard.
The reverse is also true- if you remove live material from the crown there will be resulting root loss.
The removal of some of the tree's root system may weaken the stability of the tree, then it is more susceptible to fail under duress/ extreme weather conditions. Or, it may put forth so much root material that you find you problem is increased.
Either way, many times people undertake work upon a tree and unwittingly end up with the very trouble they attempted to avoid.
I work with trees, I have seen it many times, many a tree person has had a hand in such an outcome, unwittingly too, perhaps.
If you like the tree, take a good look at it, if you decide to keep the tree, the best course of action is to help the tree to maintain optimum health, then the tree can respond, to the best of its natural ability, to its environment- a healthy limb accounts for the necessity of movement, as in a storm. This suppleness is the tree's natural resistance to falling apart. If the wind of a storm is gusty, lifting the limbs in many directions, the healthiest limb may fail; it is such wind that accounts for many a fallen limb or tree.
Keeping it free of dead or diseased branches or limbs will help to discourage pathogens interested in dead or diseased material for lunch. Feed it every so often- a bit of mulch do not run over it with a lawnmower or vehicles as the abrasiveness will have a detrimental affect to the whole tree, eventually.
Tree the tree well, it will treat you well.
Nothing can fully accomodate the perils of Nature acting unusual. Things happen- roofs are torn off houses, a tree smashes a roof. That is what insurance companies are for, to cover eventualities.
Will the roots damage your foundations? Perhaps. Enough to worry about? Perhaps. Do massive trees live snug to houses and the houses survive intact? Yes, perhaps more than modern day cover every eventuality deemed negative or undesirable living mention.
I love Oak trees, there are many where I live, young and old. They are quite magnificent to look at; they are beautifully shaped trees, that are eye catching in leaf or bare, they may live for a hundred, or three years. The dead wood makes wonderful firewood, too. Oak burns hot and long with a lovely smell of tannin.
Of course, it is possible to remove the tree, plant something small, ornamental, unobtrusive.... A driveway can be repaired or relaid in a day or two, costly perhaps. Drains can be cleaned.
Change the driveway; build a shelter for the roots over which vehicles may pass... Tie a swing to a suitable limb.... do not be a tree butcher- all or nothing. The bigger the loss, the bigger the threat.
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

That would be my choice. Some trees develop new roots, just like limbs, when pruned, which might increase root growth where you do not want it.
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I would consult a tree expert before cutting any major roots. BUT he may say if you top the tree and so some serious pruning on the top side, you can get away with destroying some roots. You'd only need to cut roots on the house side. I can't really see an oak being a problem after only 29 years unless it's 5' away from the house.
--
Steve Barker


"Tazz" < snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com> wrote in message
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wrote:

A 29 year old oak needs to be within 5 ft of the house to cause a problem? An oak that size can easily be 40ft tall, or more, depending on the variety. We don;t have a picture or even know how close to the foundation this tree actually is. People talk about cutting off roots, as if it were an easy process. To excavate and do this is a major ballbuster. And if you have to do too much of it, the tree may die anyway. He also said it was already destroying his driveway, which presumably is much closer to the tree. Given all that, the most practical solution may be to remove the tree.

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wrote:

Sure, you can trench around your house and driveway and protect from busted concrete and foundation problems. Depending on your soil type the trench probably doesn't need to be over 24 inches deep in deep soil and 8 inches in rocky soil like mine.
The first time you can rent a powered trencher and from then on, just a long spade will cut the new roots. Refill the trench when done.
Do it when the tree is dormant and you won't have any problems.
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You don't see any issue as to how many roots he cuts, how close to the tree trunk for the size of the tree relating to the survival of the tree. Or if he cuts too close and too many, during the next storm, the tree may fall on his house?
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On 17 Feb 2007 09:21:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

What a laugh. Have you ever tried to completely remove an oak tree, stump, roots and all? No, I didn't think so.
The main issue is - He is saving his houe foundation and driveway from root damage by stopping the roots from destroying them. The tree will survive and grow back stronger than ever with even more roots in areas that are acceptable.
Now, if you want to talk about DEAD trees and limbs doing damage, then start another thread. That is NOT the case here.
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Geez is this discussion full of miss information. Cutting roots can and does create a safety hazard, roots hold the tre in place while keeping it alive.
roots can go many feet deep my basement floor is 7 feet underground and when I installed a basement toilet I found roots 3 feet below that, so clearly roots arent just 2 feet deep as someone stated. Trees can add major value to a home, pretty, cooling in summer etc worth thousands to many buyers.
they can also topple over and flaten a home.....
OP must see a prpofessional arborist, someone who wouldnt be motivated by the possible thousands to cut it down but do whats right for the home and owner.
driveways can heave from big roots but this issue can be addressed also.
The just cut it down, at home resale time may cost him thousands of lost bucks, first for removal cost then for lower resale value.
besides in this era of global warming trees help clean the air
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You miss the whole point of this group.
The vast majority of people here do not want to hire other people or have someone such as yourself tell them to hire a professional.
They want to hear the opinions from people who have the experience or special knowledge of the task involved. They do NOT want someone saying "Hire a professional".
I gave my opinion and others gave theirs. The OP can take them all with a grain of salt.
But if you want any credulity, whatever you do, don't go around telling people that oak roots usually go down 7 feet and then run under houses.
wrote:

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My best friend has a oak tree in his backyard, small lot. His next door neighbor reports oak tree roots in sewer, line down between 6 to 8 feet.
So clearly for bll my buddy his tree roots got that deep. The neighbor demands bill remove the tree, he refuses he planted it as a child bill is 75 now.
It would cost a fortune to cut down and is close enough that in a storm could damage 3 or 4 houses.
DIY is fine but checking with pros is important if only for opinion.
For instance cut roots around tree first wind it falls and flatens neighbors home.
Legal, healthy tree the homeowner whos home got damaged, their insurance pays, tree becomes property of neighbor as it falls, its the law.
sickly tree, neighbor says looks bad... Later it flattens their home. Owner of property tree planted on is now on hook to fix damaged home, since they diodnt take care of hazard
Mess with tree roots it falls on neighbors home, I bet that makes it owners trouble.
Like your cutting down tree it falls wroing way, brings down high tension line across low voltage line fries tv stereos etc for many miles. owner of tree insurance on hook for all damage, i knew someone who did just this. Homeowner insurance added exclusion in case it ever happened again........ 15K in damages, no doubt bad tvs came from friends for replacements......
He is NEVER allowed to even trim a tree anymore, he nearly got killed: (
Sometimes its important to at least get a pros opinion
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Deke wrote:

Welllllll, the whole point of this group (to me) is to share experience; it can be DIY or professional. Sooooo, one guy's tree might have roots down 10'. Some species (and variations within species) have no tap root. Lovely live oaks have majority of roots in top couple of feet of soil, I believe. Or is it pine? With sandy or wet soil, that tree can go over in the wind.
Even in a tree with normally deep roots, superficial watering can create a more shallow root system.
OP might spend a week doing difficult work, only to kill the tree he is trying to save or in making the problem worse. Consulting an arborist who can see the situation and knows local conditions would probably get him a free estimate and some guidance as to how to proceed.
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wrote:

Two points.
No one wants to be told to hire a professional. Everyone already knows that and to be told that assumes that you think they are complete idiots.
And Arbonist don't give free advice. To think otherwise would be to insult them. They have kids they need to feed too, just like you do.
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Deke wrote:

Please don't assume what other people might assume. For a homeowner with no experience with tree problems, advising to see a professional is reasonably good advice. The professional might tell the homeowner that the particular species of tree has lots of surface roots and is going to ruin the foundation and/or driveway. And even those with experience might believe all trees grow the same way, which they do not.

My arborist gives free advice. I call him, tell him the problem, he comes out and writes out a bid. He gets paid when he does the job he bids on. Gets a nice tip now and then, too. Hope nobody disapproves of that.
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You're the one that's claiming how easy it is to just cut the roots of a 29 year old oak tree. I know perfectly well how large and extensive underground root systems can be. I also know that if you cut enough major roots too close to the tree, you can kill it or weaken it to the point that it becomes a danger in a storm, both cocepts which are obviously foreign to you.
Suppose a 50 ft tree is 4 ft from his foundation on one side and 4 ft from his driveway on another side. Are you saying just go ahead and cut all the roots on both sides, that it's safe, and won't harm the tree?

There may indeed be another thread about dead trees, if he blindly follows your advice.
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Are you sure it is an oak? I am familiar with a corporate planting of oak trees that were put in during 1968, and they are only about 8 inches in diameter. Oaks grow VERY slowly.

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Nonsense. There are many different varieties of oak trees and some grow very fast. In 29 years he could easily have a large tree.

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