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:
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
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.
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.
remove one of the @\'s unless you are a spammer.
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