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Old 04-09-2011, 09:58 PM   #1
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


See below for a couple of pictures of a tree which has grown very close to our house. I don't know a lot about trees. But I suspect that some of the work I'll be doing is going to be taking out a major chunk of the tree's root system.

So first the house's background. No idea how old the tree is or what species it is but it's a big tree and it doesn't as far as I can see have any obvious problems. The house was built in 1917. The sewer pipe is on the opposite side of the house under the driveway. The clay pipes for the sewer system have roos coming in at every joint, and a major root intrusion at one particular joint where we've had a complete blockage twice since moving in last November.

The house does not have a foundation. The house has stacks of cement blocks supporting it, these cement blocks rest on dirt. There is a center beam supported by stacks of concree, 3 of those stacks rest on spread footings. Otherwise, no footings, no foundation.

I am in the midst of a project to add spread footings supporting 6x6 posts supporting triple 2x10 beams, and later will have a foundation wall put in under the perimeter of the house.

I'm working on these spread footings which will be for 4 beams, I'm starting from the opposite side of the house from the tree. The second row of footings just started today and I hit some major roots wich it seemed must have come from this tree and are pointing at the sewer stack. So it occurs to me that I'm already taking out some of the root system.

Obviously when the foundation wall is done, this is going to cut out a lot of this trees roots. Planning ahead, should I me concerned with how this will affect the tree?

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Old 04-09-2011, 10:17 PM   #2
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


You safest and best bet, if you want to keep the tree, it to bring an arborist in to consult with you.

I have several 200 year old sycamores on my property. My neighbors wanted to cut into the root system of one of them (to do a foundation about 20 feet from the trunk of the tree). They hired an arborist and they removed a large branch on that 'side' of the tree to keep the tree from from having more 'demand' than the compromised root system would be able to handle. Or something that I remember sounding like that... Also, that damage to a root system might not adversely affect the tree for more than a year.

Also, on the 'pro' arborist side. I have had to remove 6 trees on my property because the former owner neglected/abused/failed to maintain them. Nothing more heartbreaking than having to cut down a 70 foot tall, 75 year old spruce (counted the rings) that got sick from bad husbandry. When I had a large 35 year old maple that started looking peaky I brought in an arborist. He recommended a 'deep root treatment blah-blah-blah'. I figured I was tossing $150 bucks away on some snake oil - but worth trying to keep the tree. Within 4 weeks the tree was THRIVING. I will use their services again.

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Old 04-09-2011, 10:28 PM   #3
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


Oh yeah, forgot the pics.

And I figured consulting would be needed, just looking for some early feeliers for what I'm likely to hear, whether it's likely the tree can remain or if the tree will need to be removed. I know my parents had a tree taken down that was close to a detatched garage and 12 years ago it cost $8000.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:35 PM   #4
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


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Oh yeah, forgot the pics.

And I figured consulting would be needed, just looking for some early feeliers for what I'm likely to hear, whether it's likely the tree can remain or if the tree will need to be removed. I know my parents had a tree taken down that was close to a detatched garage and 12 years ago it cost $8000.
I feel your pain. Trust me. We had an estimate to remove ONE of the Norway Spruce for $3500. I kept getting estimates and they ranged from $800 (some guy with a chainsaw, no insurance, no nothing) to $5000 (large national chain - who I did use for the root treatment). Not to mention my husband who offered to do it for free despite his lack of experience and with my chain saw with a 24 inch bar.

After 10 estimates and about six weeks, I found a guy (and I <3 him) who is a state licensed arborist, he carries both liability insurance and workers comp. He charges for work by the 'day' $1450 bought me his services for 10 hours. So for the cost of cutting down, stumping, and removing 1 tree, we had six trees removed.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:07 PM   #5
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


it looks like that tree has a split in it in the main trunk. You can see it in the pic looking across the front of the house. Where that large branch was cut or rotted off looks questionable in the pic as well.
Based on just those two things, I would simply plan on taking it out. Since it appears you have houses close to yours and the tree, I would definitely hire it out.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:34 PM   #6
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


I will again say I don't know much about trees, but I had thought that it looks like it was 2 trees growing together. 2 houses ago we had a tree with a split that eventually 1 half came down and took out some fence, the other half was taken down by a tree service on the insurance claim. I'm thinking I don't see a split on this tree like I did on the one that was at my previous house, that and it looks like 2 trees growing together at the ground level. I could be wrong, I'll be looking for someone that knows something about this... Should I expect any fee for a tree inspection?
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:04 AM   #7
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


That is a very nice looking tree, but it is far too close to the house, and really needs to be removed before it falls over on your house. We had a very large white pine in out front of our house, and after a windstorm I found a 1000 lb limb had fallen down, and missed our house by 10 feet. I had the tree removed the next day by a licensed, insured arborist, the only way to go given the proximity to power lines. Cost about $1000, they left the stump, which I removed by drilling holes, filling with kerosene, and lighting a day later.
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Old 04-10-2011, 09:35 AM   #8
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


amazed it hasnt pushed the foundation around
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:32 AM   #9
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


You can keep ,one or the other.(House or Tree) Not both. Who owns the tree at the far side of the fence? That should go too, far too close. Not an expert, just common
sense.

Last edited by jankencanada; 04-10-2011 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:18 AM   #10
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


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Should I expect any fee for a tree inspection?
I called two big chain places to get estimates for removal and they came out and did evaluations for free. They sent certified arborists and I was so pleased with one guy I wrote a letter of commendation to his boss. He was great.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:18 PM   #11
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jankencanada View Post
You can keep ,one or the other.(House or Tree) Not both. Who owns the tree at the far side of the fence? That should go too, far too close. Not an expert, just common
sense.
That tree is in my back yard, it is around 20 feet past the rear of the house. It is not as close as it appears.

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amazed it hasnt pushed the foundation around
It hasn't because there isn't really a foundation there to be pushed around.

This is just one of those issues where when you buy a house, you get so focussed on the house, you see the tree there and you look to see if it is diseased or anything like that... but you overlook the fact that it's just too close to the house!

I'll bear in mind the fact that when I get to the point I'm having the foundation wall put in, I'll need to budget for the tree removal.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:36 PM   #12
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


It is good you are going to budget for it. I know how surprised we were at the cost and impact of removing a tree.

We had a silver maple on the property line we share with our neighbor. She started getting worried about it falling on her house (pretty reasonable concern given the species) so she paid to remove it. We would have kept it, but were advised by our insurance company that if we insisted on keeping it and it fell on her house we could be liable.

Our A/C costs went through the roof when we lost the shade. The price of keeping happy neighbors.....
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:37 AM   #13
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Impact on this tree of roots cut to install foundation?


The rootball can be estimated by multiplying the canopy spread x1.5.

Hate to say this, but if you're eventually going to be bringing in big earth-moving equipment that tree will probably have to go.

When I bought our house, I had to remove a couple of Siberian elms planted next to the foundation. They provided good shade to the house, but were soft and rotted inside. That type of trash tree dropped sap and litter all year 'round.
While we house-hunted, we saw several basements in which the Michigan fieldstone walls were buckled in. Big money for poor decisions made decades ago.

For insurance purposes, get a licensed and bonded contractor on a comlete contract and make a copy of their paperwork. Estimates should be free, and ask them questions.
They'll also probably have to bring in a bucket truck across the yard to rope branches from over the house. Expect $1.5-5K. They will probably want to haul off and resell the wood.

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