I decided against risking the chainsaw I mentioned a week or so ago and have
been hacking away at the roots of this big tree. Today I finally managed to
topple it (surprisingly easy - no roots going down, all were going outwards
maybe due to the high clay content of the ground?)
Anyway, there was a funny smell once I toppled it that I cant quite put my
finger on. Smells a bit like creosote (and a patch of the soil underneath
looks a bit oily), but there is something else I cant quite figure out. I
asked the guy in the garden behind (tree was next to the garden fence) if he
had spilt any oil/creosote but he said no. Apparently there is a sewer
running underneath the end of all the gardens on our row, but I have only
dug down about 18" and I havent come across any pipes (although I did find a
lot of water last week that kept filling up the hole within seconds!?).
Is this normal to get such a smell, or is there something more sinister
Are you quite sure there weren't any roots going downwards...
Although tree roots are not thought to actually crack drains, they are
attracted to ones that are already cracked or leaking and pulling out
roots that have grown through a broken pipe may cause leaks...
Well I dug down nearly a foot all around the tree and cut all the roots
going outwards. Then I just pushed it (eventually!) and it went over so
there were no roots going straight down. Some of the roots may have gone out
then down. I found some of the roots just under the surface at least 10m
away (they went right under the surface of the lawn so they got pulled up)
Well hopefully not! I do know that the house next door but one had a huge
sycamore tree that had grown into the sewers and the council had to some and
sort that one out - I dont know how far down they went though.
I didnt know that so that may be cause.
It had rained but not heavily that I know of. I guess it could just have
been ground water, I was just surprised at how quickly it was flowing - I
would have expected an 'oozing' rather than a flow (but we have so much clay
that I suppose you can get stores of water quite easily). I havent seen it
since, but then again I havent dug in that area any more :-)
It isn't, it's just BigWallop talking shite yet again.
Creosote is a product of coal tar. Turpentine is distilled from tree
My money is on a tree root having found a damp pipe joint, then shoved
a tendril into it and levered it open into a big leak. You ought to
fix this, probably by lots more digging ! If you feel like spending
the cash, shoving a video camera down the drain will tell you a lot
more, for little effort.
AH clay. Dig down a few feet into that round here, and
(a) it seeps in and fllods
(b) it smells like drains.
Which, when you consider where all the soluble remains of dead things
end up - in the groundwater - is not surpising.
Different tree types have different root patterns. Some spread out,
others go down. That is one reason why in gale force winds some tree
types are susceptible to lose their grip on the earth and fall over
(you don't want one of those in your garden).
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If you say its clay soil and was quite wet, it could just be decomposing
matter in the clay, what colour is the clay, is it a dark colour, take some
of the clay in your hand and smell it. We have quite alot of clay that has
a dark appearance and holds water quite well it smells as you have described
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