tree roots and my basement

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hi first sorry if this topic is not related to this group but I am hoping I wi ll get the answer here because many people here are very knowledgeable.
I have these trees which are 3-4 meters away from my house foundation. They were small 2-3 years ago. Now they are getting really big. It scares me th at these tree will get even bigger and bigger and eventually the roots will hit the foundation and cause a lot of problems since the house is 80 years old.
Do you have any idea what is the name of these trees and how big it can go? and how far the root can go. Right now they are just 3-4 meters away. The following links show the trees. Thanks a lot.
http://oi39.tinypic.com/2vuihpj.jpg
http://oi44.tinypic.com/bf4zl4.jpg
http://oi40.tinypic.com/2z820zn.jpg
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leza wang wrote:

Not to be rude, but you've got to be kidding.
Take a look at how much space there is for that tree (looks more like a cluster of trees) has to grow. You're going to have problems with the driveway and paving blocks right next to those trees long before you're going to have a problem with the roots hitting your foundation.
Honestly - if you want a tree in that location, a SINGLE tree, then do it right and cut down the other trunks that have formed and keep only the trunk that's in the best condition. The leaves look like they're under stress as it is.

Take a better picture of a few leaves. It's probably an aspen or cotton-wood of some type. They will sprout multiple trunks very close together as in your picture, and they do grow fast.

Your primary concern should be the value of having a tree in that location. Trees in general are good to have around a home - they add value, provide shade, etc. You should be more concerned that you have the RIGHT tree for that location, and that you are doing everything you can to keep it healthy.
I think that people are overly paranoid about trees and their home's foundation. If you have working gutters and you keep water from pooling around your home then that area will be dry and the roots will not grow where there is no water.
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Leza:
From what I can see, the roots of that tree may have already discovered your foundation. But, they may not do it any harm.
Here's what most people imagine a tree to be like:
[image:
http://www.sustland.umn.edu/implement/images/planting_fig1a.gif ]
They imagine the root system below ground to be similar in depth and areal extent to the branch system above ground, and that's not true.
Here's a more realistic and conservative idea of what happens underground:
[image:
http://www.sustland.umn.edu/implement/images/planting_fig1b.gif ]
The roots extend out to a diameter of 2 to 4 times as far as the branches do, and 99 percent of the root system is less than 24 inches underground with virtually all of the roots within 3 feet of the surface. It's a conservative depiction because the root diameter could extend twice what it's depicted to be for the size of the tree's crown.
The reason for the misconception about trees is that people think the job of the root system is so collect moisture for the tree, and in order for the tree to survive a drought, the roots would have to go deep into the ground. The root system is extensive and shallow because the roots primary job is to collect nutrients the tree needs to grow. And, the kind of nutrients a tree needs are the result of AEROBIC decomosition of organic matter. Basically the tree wants to eat good quality compost. And, it's only the top 24 inches of ground that has enough oxygen in it for aerobic decomposition to occur. Anything more than 3 feet down, and there's not enough air in the ground for aerobic decomposition, so any decomposition that takes place is anaerobic decomposition, and trees don't like that kind of food.
So, in your photo, if the tree branch diameter is about a meter (I'd say), it's reasonable to assume that the root diameter is 2 to 4 meters, so if your house is 3 to 4 meters away, the roots from that tree are anywhere from half way to your foundation to all the way there by now.
I'm not an arborist, so I don't know if or how the road or sidewalks around that tree would affect it's growth or the growth of it's roots.
I would phone up your city and ask if they have an arborist on staff, and see what he/she says about the root system and your foundation. If you simply cut a thin trench around your house 24 inches deep, slide in some stainless steel sheet metal and that trench in again, you should stop any further root growth in the direction of your house. Hopefully your city's arborist(s) will have a better game plan that's be easier or less expensive. If your city doesn't have an arborist on staff, then your provincial or state government certainly should.
--
nestork


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o

d

I doubt the tree roots from that tree are anywhere near the house foundation or a threat to it. People have trees that size a hell of a lot close than that to countless houses without any problems. And if you removed them, houses wouldn't have any trees left near them.
Also, we don't know what the actual house looks like, but the houses across the street don't look like they are anywhere near 80 years old.....

If you're paranoid. I would just leave it be and stop worrying.
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nestork wrote:

No.
Unfortunately (for trees), most people think the job of the root system is to seek out and destroy their home's foundation.

You mean tree canopy.
If those are cottonwoods, then they've sprouted in that location from a root coming from a big mature cottomwood somewhere nearby - even 50 ft away. Those don't look to be planted by a previous home owner - who would plant a tree there anyways? This is Toronto we're talking about, and snow clearing activities would render that location a pretty dangerous and stupid place to plant anything of value. Those trees sprouted during a stretch of a few years where winter snowfall was light.
But regarding the root/foundation thing - if your foundation is of the type where it can be affected by roots - because of the type of construction, materials used, age, quality of material, etc, then your foundation is just as vulnerable to water penetration due to normal hydrological processes as it is.
A typical 6" poured concrete foundation wall will not be bothered by a tree root. An 80-year-old cinder-block wall is likely to fail over time and leak regardless of the presence of roots.
Where people get the idea that roots have hardened drill points on them that can bore into hard concrete, I have no idea.
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nestork wrote:

Interesting description of how tree roots typically grow and why they grow in the way that they do. Thanks.
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On Sat, 25 May 2013 22:15:04 -0400, Home Guy wrote:

As an future prediction, notice this picture I took earlier this week when I was helping a friend with her plumbing, and I stopped to watch the workmen cut down a tree whose roots had lifted the sidewalk nearby.
This was a mulberry tree:

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On Sun, 26 May 2013 15:33:44 +0000, Danny D wrote:

Whoops.... As "a" future prediction ...
Anyway, here's another picture of what (Mulberry) roots can do under a sidewalk ... given ... oh ... dunno ... maybe a quarter of a century based on my rough count of the tree rings.

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On Sun, 26 May 2013 10:46:16 -0700, Oren wrote:

Actually, it's not at my house (it's at a friend's house where I fixed the plumbing). She was wondering what took me so long when I went to get the snake, and I told here there was a lot of traffic - but - in reality - I was watching the guys cut down the tree.
I "think" it was a mulberry (based on the leaves); but I didn't think to ask them as they had already answered all my questions of what they were doing and why (they asked why I was taking pictures).
They didn't know I was snapping the pics for you!
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will get the answer here because many people here are very knowledgeable.

ey were small 2-3 years ago. Now they are getting really big. It scares me that these tree will get even bigger and bigger and eventually the roots wi ll hit the foundation and cause a lot of problems since the house is 80 yea rs old.

o? and how far the root can go. Right now they are just 3-4 meters away. Th e following links show the trees. Thanks a lot.

What Home Guy said. Also, it would help to know where you are located, what state, northern or southern part of the state, etc. Those trees don't look very big, medium is 1 foot diameter, big is 19 inch diameter or bigger. If those wispy looking things get to 1 foot diameter, it will be a miracle because they will have torn up the walkway/driveway/whatever it is next to them.
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On Saturday, May 25, 2013 10:54:24 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

I will get the answer here because many people here are very knowledgeable.

They were small 2-3 years ago. Now they are getting really big. It scares m e that these tree will get even bigger and bigger and eventually the roots will hit the foundation and cause a lot of problems since the house is 80 y ears old.

go? and how far the root can go. Right now they are just 3-4 meters away. The following links show the trees. Thanks a lot.

thanks a lot for all your replies guys. I did not plan them myself. They we re planted by previous owner 3-4 years go and when i came they were 3-5 fee t tall, but now they are 10-15 feet tall. I live in Toronto, Ontario. Thank s once again
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leza wang wrote:

were small 2-3 years ago. Now they are getting really big. It scares me that these tree will get even bigger and bigger and eventually the roots will hit the foundation and cause a lot of problems since the house is 80 years old.

and how far the root can go. Right now they are just 3-4 meters away. The following links show the trees. Thanks a lot.

Hmm, I am just shaking my head. Whoever planted the tree(s) did not know anything about selecting trees or shrubs.
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I will get the answer here because many people here are very knowledgeable.

They were small 2-3 years ago. Now they are getting really big. It scares m e that these tree will get even bigger and bigger and eventually the roots will hit the foundation and cause a lot of problems since the house is 80 y ears old.

go? and how far the root can go. Right now they are just 3-4 meters away. The following links show the trees. Thanks a lot.

the roots are typically twice the size of the drip edge....
I LOVE trees:) But anyone planting them close to their home needs to consider what can happen in a storm, the tree could fall on the home:(
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wrote:

were small 2-3 years ago. Now they are getting really big. It scares me that these tree will get even bigger and bigger and eventually the roots will hit the foundation and cause a lot of problems since the house is 80 years old.

and how far the root can go. Right now they are just 3-4 meters away. The following links show the trees. Thanks a lot.

Not that those twigs would do much damage - -
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On 5/25/2013 9:49 PM, leza wang wrote:

were small 2-3 years ago. Now they are getting really big. It scares me that these tree will get even bigger and bigger and eventually the roots will hit the foundation and cause a lot of problems since the house is 80 years old.

and how far the root can go. Right now they are just 3-4 meters away. The following links show the trees. Thanks a lot.

The leaves in the last photo, at the base of the trunk, look like elm. Photos are too contrasty and unclear to get an idea. Look up your local or county extension service and send better pix to them. The present arrangement is poor, for the trees and for the drive/pavers.
The space is better suited for border plants, like hosta, or just some annual flowers. IF you must have trees there, an important consideration is the type and condition of your foundation, but, as others have said, it is a crazy place to plant a large plant.
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On Sunday, May 26, 2013 10:05:06 AM UTC-4, NorMinn wrote:

I will get the answer here because many people here are very knowledgeable.

They were small 2-3 years ago. Now they are getting really big. It scares m e that these tree will get even bigger and bigger and eventually the roots will hit the foundation and cause a lot of problems since the house is 80 y ears old.

go? and how far the root can go. Right now they are just 3-4 meters away. The following links show the trees. Thanks a lot.


thanks for your reply. i took more pictures. i live in toronto, ontario. i just want to know how big these trees can go.. please see these links below and thanks a lot once again.
http://tinypic.com/r/wukxds/5
http://tinypic.com/r/263kizb/5
http://tinypic.com/r/169lpmx/5
http://tinypic.com/r/2w7fiiq/5
http://tinypic.com/r/33os13n/5
http://tinypic.com/r/30js7mf/5
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leza wang wrote:

Leza -
Were there any flowers on those trees in the spring? If so, can you describe them?
Did you ever see any sort of nuts or berries on them in the fall?
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On Monday, May 27, 2013 10:29:19 AM UTC-4, Home Guy wrote:

no flower, nuts etc, just leafs. 3-2 years ago they were 3-5 feet tall now they are doubled. i did cut most of them to half. i do not want them to grow up high and quick. thanks a lot.
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leza wang wrote:

Do the leaves turn yellow and fall off in the winter, or do the leaves stay green all year - even in winter?
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On 5/27/2013 11:16 AM, Home Guy wrote:

It's clearly deciduous...and I think likely a variety of elm from the leaf shape/veining pattern but I can't tell which specifically from the pic's...(and that may also be wrong but my best guess).
I say if OP really wants to know to take a sample to an arborist or nursery or whatever their county agent equivalent is.
But, irregardless, it really should come out 'cuz it's inappropriate in the location so it really doesn't matter what it is... :)
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