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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
"Tazz" < email@example.com> wrote in message
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.
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.
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?
On 17 Feb 2007 09:21:24 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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
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
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
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
Legal, healthy tree the homeowner whos home got damaged, their
insurance pays, tree becomes property of neighbor as it falls, its the
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
There may indeed be another thread about dead trees, if he blindly
follows your advice.
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