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Old 04-24-2012, 11:50 AM   #1
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just bought a multi-unit and unfortunately there are some termite issues. i have been told that the trees are part of the cause as they are too close to the building and either need to be cut down or trimmed. is it better to trim trees or just cut them down. i'm leaning towards cutting them down as i'm afraid the roots eventually will damage the concrete floor. thoughts?

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Old 04-24-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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Termites do not eat live trees, they will how ever be attacted to any dead wood under ground, so you would really need to have the stumps pulled out of the ground not just grind the stumps.

Yes the roots can distroy a foundation, sidewalk, driveway and get into the sewer lines and tanks.

I've never heard of an exterminator suggesting to cut down trees before, it would be interesting to see a picture.
With the newer products there using he should be able to have an effective barrier around and under that foundation.

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Old 04-24-2012, 06:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Termites do not eat live trees, they will how ever be attacted to any dead wood under ground, so you would really need to have the stumps pulled out of the ground not just grind the stumps.

Yes the roots can destroy a foundation, sidewalk, driveway and get into the sewer lines and tanks.

I've never heard of an exterminator suggesting to cut down trees before, it would be interesting to see a picture.
With the newer products there using he should be able to have an effective barrier around and under that foundation.
Make sure you trust the source of advice on this. I didn't read that it was an exterminator giving you advice but it is a natural assumption to draw I guess.

Sacrificing trees is a big deal. How big are these trees? Have you talked with a real arborist or nursery? Are they young enough they can be moved and planted further from the house? Cheaper and faster than buying new little ones and waiting for shade and all the other benefits.

Termites have a very bad and undeserved reputation. They are one of nature's greatest natural recycling agents. As Joe says, they do not eat live growth. They do not form gangs with "tats" and look for home foundations to destroy.

As Joe suggests, cutting down your trees without getting rid of the dead stump and root system could actually encourage termite populations to visit. You will have offered up a Thanksgiving feast in the form of dying wood!

It is too bad they were planted too close to the house. Common mistake. But if your concrete is showing no signs of root damage I would not race to cut them down for that reason. Unless they are some species known to hate concrete and foundations? Surprisingly few trees fall into the category by the way and even those if they were watered well when young will have deep and happy roots.

If they have gone years without trimming you cannot just wack at them with a chainsaw. You should come up with a plan for shaping and pruning/trimming the trees that may have to stretch over a couple of seasons. Of course any limbs that are unhealthy and threatening structure have to be cut back or removed. Obviously if termites are an issue, you want to remove the branches, even that you will use for firewood, away from the house.

Not sure where you are but look up the cooling property of trees. Not just from the shade provided but from air cooled across their leaves in the heat of summer. They provide homes for things like owls (had a great hunter in the pine tree outside the worker house I restored in Urbana) that keep mice from freaking out your wife and birds that feed on grubs in the lawn. They went extinct but my California property had magpies that made noise but loved the large magnolia in the front yard. They fed on snails and slugs.

I am tearing up. I may just walk to the park and hug a tree for the second time today. I aged to the point I decided to give up the thrill of home landscape maintenance. I fall out my door, walk a block, and enter one of this country's largest and nicest park systems though. I live near North Pond and the ducks and geese are sitting on eggs. I saw a couple little 1" baby turtles walking today. Here is a pic of North Pond. Someone else deals with the trees and mowing the lawns.





Lincoln Park lost a lot of trees to beetles so definitely keep an eye out for things other than termites in your trees.

Last edited by user1007; 04-24-2012 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely reconsider just cutting down the trees. I'll get a landscaper out and see if he/she has any suggestions. This is my first project so I definitely have a lot of things to learn in terms of what is best overall.
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