Tree Root Problem

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15' from the slab? That's not too close. Ask an arborist to be sure, but a clean cut along one side of the tree may be OK. At that distance from the trunk, regardless of tree, one foot or so down into the soil won't cut the life of an otherwise healthy tree. Our Magnolia, a tree that doens't mind having it's roots pruned, is closer to the slab than that and we cut plenty of roots any which way we could before trenching in the patio edge. Then we put a used brick patio right up to the trunk on one side. The tree seems to be doing pretty well this summer of incredible heat. In our case, we replaced the slab patio altogether. Outside the foundation barrier footer and patio edge, I cut the roots back and down a couple of feet and gently slope toward the trunk, trying to avoid major roots as I got closer to the tree. I then filled in a few yards of pea gravel and a drain pipe system to draw the patio water away to a deep dry well well away from the patio. I layered soil fabric over the pea grave, some road base, tamped into the slope I wanted, and then puzzled in the used brick that I had accumulated over the previous two years (It's amazing what amounts of brick is tossed by the roadside in places). I broomed sand into the cracks between bricks that weren't spaced. Some people recommended mixing the sand with some portland cement, but I didn't want the grey look this gives to the brick. If the base is solid, cement isn't necessary. Along the lawn edge, I put in flush some old 8x8 redwood railroad ties, but treated ties are easier to find in most places. This winter the patio drained well enough, the tree seems pretty happy, the excellent underground drainage of the pea gravel should discourage larger tree roots from forming there for awhile.
John Lawrence wrote:

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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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cover wrote:

it is totally dull. That happens even if the dirt is dug out fairly well. All it takes is a momentary touch to kill the blade.
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On Mon, 14 Aug 2006 11:05:34 -0400, Stubby

Yeah, I was thinking about that one too where my chainsaw is concerned. Another killer incidentally is railroad ties. :-) I was thinking about using an axe (though they can be spooky devils to work with).
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cover wrote:

If you have a sawzall, you can buy a pruning blade for about $6. They are about 12-15" long and will go through dirt and roots like butter. I used one to cut the roots off a stump so I could pull it up and it was the easiest stump I have ever removed.
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What does one of these trenchers do when they encounter roots, Ron? (kick up, cut through ???) thanks
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cover wrote:

You'll see some wood chips in the dirt it spits out. Other than that you don't even notice there's a root there.
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Guess it depends on size of root, and how sharp your trencher is. I cut through allot of roots, except for some big ones. Some knotted up roots it will not get through. I used the walk behind. Maybe the one you sit on has less of a problem.
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