root barriers -- protecting property from neighbor's trees

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Does anyone have any first-hand experience in knowing the chances of an Aristocrat Flowering Pear Tree causing damage to a home's foundation?
I have a neighbor who decided to plant an Aristocrat Flowering Pear Tree about 5 feet from our property line and about 17 feet from my foundation in highly expansive clay soil that is watered almost year round: in Califorina where we go long spells without rain. I have water lines and sprinkler lines within five feet of that tree, and a water line about seven feet from it.
One of my concerns with this tree is potential root damage to my home's foundation, concrete driveway, and anything I decide to put in that area in the the future.
I've been researching root barriers, and the one idea I'm debating is putting in a 4 to 6 feet deep (below ground) rebar reenforced concrete wall along our property line to keep this tree from damaging my property. Does anyone know how effective root barriers are at different depths in the soil?
How well would a rebar reenforced below-ground wall work?
Any other ideas for an effective root barrier system?
Has anyone ever had any success in taking a neighbor to court for intentionally planting a tree that they know will encroach on your land and will likely damage your propery over time?
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Look up copper sulphate. Just don't tell anybody else.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG

chances of

Pear
my
year
have
and a water

put in

debating is

concrete
for
your
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Alternately, when you find the first surface root on your property, drill a hole in it, top off the hole with glyphosate every week and bye-bye tree. You could cut to the chase by simply drilling a hole in the base of the tree one dark night this winter and topping off the hole with glyphosate every week or so...
I had a neighbor who planted some great big shade producing thing right on the property line. Didn't bother to ask, didn't do a good job of picking the tree for the location. Just bought it and planted it. After about two years, my bermuda (I installed the sod myself - what a job) began to die from lack of sun. Surprisingly, that tree died really suddenly...

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Kyle Boatright wrote:

Anything that hangs over your property line is yours. You can take a chain saw and cut all the branches that are over your line. Just be advised that, sooner or later, you may have to take the chain saw to your neighbors. If you get a good shyster lawyer (aren't they all?), it could be adjudicated a justified homicide.

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Bill Schnakenberg wrote:

Uh, no it's not.

You can, but you're in a world of hurt.

More likely, you'll need your chainsaw to bust out of jail.
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Here are all of the notes I've taken on this topic based on these discussions... these are not my words... this is largely all copy and paste from different replies.
Again, I thank everyone for helping.
Root Barriers
* So, if in 10 years the tree is growing that big and you are still worried about it, rent a Ditch Witch and trench a 4" wide, 2' deep trench inside your property line and disconnect any roots running in your direction. The trench would not have to be long, say 20' as the major roots will radiate out from the trunk. You could even dig a smaller test trench with a shovel is a couple of years just to check things out. You can take an axe to any roots on the surface.
* If you're REALLY worried, in five years, dig a trench inside your property line to, er, put down PVC for watering - or something. [this will cut any roots]
* If it really bugs you, spade through any major roots you see when you build the driveway. The rest aren't worth worrying your pretty little head over.
* Another slant might be to verify that the tree owner may be libel for damages to your property and also verify with a local professional that that tree in that location might damage your property. I would expect the owner to react.
* I would think it being Aristocrat pear at 17 feet would be more than a safe distance from your home. If you are going to make a barrier, 24 inches of corrugated tin buried should be sufficient.
* Heavy EPDM would work as a barrier, and be easier than tin to work with. That is what they use in the bamboo group as a root barrier. (Heavy black rubber-like material. Used for roofing, and ponds. Can be cut, and glued if you need to.)
* Another problem that occurs with trees is *reduction* of the groundwater from evapotranspiration in clay soils, consequent consolidation of the clay stratum, and settlements of the structure founded on the stratum. This is usually associated with large trees like oaks so a relatively small pear tree may not apply... The thing is, you neighbour by watering may be balancing the equation.
Q: Is this caused by the roots taking moisture out of the soil?
http://www.marinwater.org/evapotranspiration.html
A: Yes, But the tree is also providing shade, thereby reducing the amount of evaporation directly from the soil, so the likely net effect is zero.
Check this link for a discussion of the issue from a decidedly tree-friendly engineer:
http://users.rcn.com/bobw.enteract/UKSubsidence2.2.html
Since you are watering the soil to avoid too much drying out under the foundation, you probably do not have to worry about this. For more info about the International Society of Arboriculture, please visit http://www.isa-arbor.com/home.asp .
For consumer info about tree care, visit http://www.treesaregood.com /
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Frank wrote:

I would think it being Aristocrat pear at 17 feet would be more than a safe distance from your home. If you are going to make a barrier, 24 inches of corrugated tin buried should be sufficient.
Lar
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This is IMHO an excellent answer. It is technically sound with good results for minimum effort. It protects against a possible problem in a non combative way. Lar comes though again. TB
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (Tom Baker) wrote:

Heavy EPDM would work as a barrier, and be easier than tin to work with. That is what they use in the bamboo group as a root barrier.
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John Hines wrote:

EPDM: Ethylene-Propylene-Diene-Monomer? If so, what's that?
Frank
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Heavy black rubber-like material. Used for roofing, and ponds. Can be cut, and glued if you need to.
Like I said, google through the bamboo newsgroup's history, as it is something that bamboo keepers fight with, keeping runners under control.
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This is IMHO an excellent answer. It is technically sound with good results for minimum effort. It protects against a possible problem in a non combative way. Lar comes though again. TB
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This is Turtle.
Check with your timber management companys and get the name of the stuff they kill Oak and sweet gum trees with and get a ounce of it. When you find a root on your land. Cut a little piece of the coating off the root and put 1 drop on the cut place on the root. Then in about a month the tree will rott and fall over. Be careful with it for what ever plant it touches, it kills.
Other option is to dig a 3 foot ditch with a ditch witch and fill it with Rock Salt like used on highways dureing freezing weather. Fill the ditch with Rock salt and nothing will cross the line without getting killed.
TURTLE
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i think the responses to this post are pretty indicitive of the way things are. 'if it crosses the line, kill it'.
have you even tried talking to the neighbor? if that didnt work, i would put something in writing addressing your concerns, and mail it certified mail to your neighbor so he cant say he didnt get it. then if any of them happen you have your ammo should it actually come to a legal battle. and if none of them happen, well...
randy
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Frank wrote:

Um. Five feet from the property line? SEVENTEEN from your house? Sorry, I think you're paranoid. Almost anybody would think that five feet inside their property line is fair game for any damn tree they want to plant. That's a fully grown human, lying on his back, toes to neck.

Not to jeer, but you're scared of potential damage to a potential driveway that doesn't even exist yet? I don't suppose you would ever plant anything near that driveway yourself, nosirree.
A properly graded, laid, and jointed driveway shouldn't have anything to fear from a tree that far away. In the long run, to be sure, but on a time scale of years and years. If it really bugs you, spade through any major roots you see when you build the driveway. The rest aren't worth worrying your pretty little head over.

Perhaps you should call a security company, and install motion detectors in the ground. This will tell you if your neighbor has any roots growing into your property. If you would like to let them know that you know about the roots they are growing under your property, you may connect this security system to a flashing halogen floodlight and a tornado siren. They'll know to make their roots back off, then.

I think you should try this question on a lawyer, first. He'll most likely chuckle, and take your money, but he'll continue chuckling quietly. Bread and butter, my friend, you're bread and butter.
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Frank wrote: ...

Ah, berkeley clay...

You have described a foundation wall (without anything on it).
But learn how big this tree will get and how far the root go. Most pear trees I know don't get HUGE. it would be unlikely if it really went over your property line on top.
(15' around was pretty huge for apple trees).
And you'll get some pears.
You're best investment is in being friendly with the neighbor. If you're REALLY worried, in five years, dig a trench inside your property line to, er, put down PVC for watering - or something.
Talk to a nursery/plant guy first, tho.
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Frank wrote:

First a note. In most areas of the US you are allowed to trim any part of a tree or bush (above ground?) that is over your property. However I understand that some local laws have some restrictions where it may damage/kill the tree. You should check locally before doing anything without permission of the owner.
I will suggest that following the comments about killing the tree is almost certain to be illegal everywhere. If one of my neighbors were to pull that one, I would be most happy to press charges. However I would be very likely to remove a tree if my neighbor expressed concerns after consulting with a professional and verifying that their could be a problem.
Another slant might be to verify that the tree owner may be libel for damages to your property and also verify with a local professional that that tree in that location might damage your property. I would expect the owner to react.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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clipped

Frank, life must be good if all you have to worry about is how well the trees are growing. Why don't you volunteer some time at a nursing home or homeless shelter? You can pick the fruit that grows on your side and donate it.
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wrote:
:) Why don't you volunteer some time at a nursing home :) or homeless shelter? You can pick the fruit that grows on your side and :) donate it.
If he did that he would get booted back outside...Aristrocat is an ornamental pear...fruits are marble sized and just about as solid.
Lar.
Lar. (to e-mail, get rid of the BUGS!!
It is said that the early bird gets the worm, but it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.
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Lar wrote:

Ignorant of me - sorry :o)
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