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    Thread: Questions about roots from neighbors tree growing near foundation...

    1. 05-04-2012 06:14 PM #1
      The neighbor has this tall tree (cherry blossom?) that is growing on the side of my house and the roots are right next to the foundation. I recently purchased this house and just noticed how close some of the larger roots are to the house foundation. Besides the roots next to the foundation, the large root coming off of the tree makes it very difficult to move stuff over it. I keep my garbage/recycling on the side of the house and I pretty much have to pick it up and carry it over the roots, same with the lawn mower. The ground on that side of the house is very compacted, doesn't grow grass well, and becomes a swimming pool when it rains. I would like to cut the roots even with the fence line, have a few inches of soil dug up and have crushed gravel laid down in the this area going about ~25 feet back along the side of the house to allow me to walk through their in the winter without soaking my feet. I have a few questions:

      1. Is the root this close to the foundation a concern? Is it something that definitely needs to be addressed?

      2. Do I have the right to cut these giant roots at the property(fence) line?

      3. Will it kill the tree removing roots this big? Will it make the tree unsafe/unstable and pose a risk of falling/blowing over?

      4. Assuming it becomes a risk cutting the large root at the fence line, and the tree needs to be removed, is it my responsibility or should the neighbor pay to have it removed? What if i cut and dig up the roots, lay the gravel, and he refuses to remove the tree and it falls on my house? Would i be liable since i cut the roots? Would insurance cover it still?

      I haven't talked to the neighbor about it yet, I'm a first time home owner and want to get some opinions before I talk to him. In the event the tree needs to be removed I would be willing to split the cost with him since its a nuisance.

      Album with images all images:

      Individual pics:
      Tree in question
      Area in question
      Close up of large root
      Close up of root near foundation
      Last edited by MGB_; 05-04-2012 at 06:29 PM.

    2. 05-04-2012 06:39 PM #2
      I think that legally, you probably have every right to have the tree chopped down. I wouldn't mess with that big root without talking to the city first. You should be able to give someone in your city a call and have a conversation about this. If not, you can probably talk to a realestate lawer and have them research it for you.

      The tree is very pretty. I think that cutting that large root would jepoardize the overall health of the tree. I would take a recipricating saw and pruning blad to the root ends that are touching your foundation though. At the very least, that should stop them from growing further into the foundation. I've cut a number of roots in my yard (much further from the trees, and the trees are much taller). The saw takes care of them with ease. You can jam the saw right into the dirt.

    3. 05-04-2012 06:42 PM #3
      One other thing to note is that your neighbor may be inclined to work with you if you take your Christmas Lights down.

    4. 05-04-2012 06:47 PM #4
      I think that legally, you probably have every right to have the tree chopped down. I wouldn't mess with that big root without talking to the city first.
      What do you mean "i wouldn't mess with that big root without talking to your city first"? Are you talking about the legalities of removing it or something else i should discuss with them?

      One other thing to note is that your neighbor may be inclined to work with you if you take your Christmas Lights down.
      haha good point. I've been out of the country/state for the majority of the time I've lived here, just now getting a chance to do things like take down christmas lights/destroy trees.

    5. Member 1.8Tquattro's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 09:51 PM #5
      You should talk to your neighbor and tell him you are going to cut the roots back a few feet from your house.
      If he gives you ****, go rent a trencher and run that ****er down your property line.

      Of course it's company policy never to, imply ownership in the event of a dildo... always use the indefinite article a dildo, never your dildo.

    6. Member unimogken's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:49 PM #6
      Looks like it is also near your utilities so you may need to have them located!

      I've tried to take thru things with my neighbors but it never works so i'd just cut the crap out of those roots! Every fall where to the leaves land? On your property and on your roof! Chop chop!
      I really wish everyone would update their location in their profile!

      Someone buy my car already!!

      Always looking for free firewood to feed my hungry wood stove!

    7. Senior Member
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      West Coast FL
      07 Z4MC, 11 328i Touring, 13 F150 STX 5.0, Versys
      05-04-2012 11:22 PM #7
      I think you need to look at the local laws before you do anything or consult with your neighbor. While this page may not apply it should give you some cause to investigate further:

      As for digging the roots up, be very careful there. You probably do have utilities that run underground very close to the roots. As they say around here; CALL BEFORE YOU DIG!.

      The tree roots themselves may eventually harm your foundation or the utilities. So you should definitely act to get rid of the entire tree.

    8. 05-05-2012 01:38 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by MGB_ View Post
      What do you mean "i wouldn't mess with that big root without talking to your city first"? Are you talking about the legalities of removing it or something else i should discuss with them?
      Well taking out that giant root so close to the base of the tree could kill the tree. Some cities require permits if you take down trees larger than a few inches in diameter. It's usually only an issue if the tree is on a slow, as it helps with erosion control. There maybe some online documentation on your city/county website.

      Thanks for the reminder about the utilities. I have a stump to remove underground and there is a line to my hot tub that could be in the area. I would have totally overlooked that.

    9. Member charlatan's Avatar
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      05-09-2012 04:21 PM #9
      Without consulting anyone, I would trim the roots right at the foundation of your garage. Like an inch or two back from the foundation. Then, I would mulch(or use decorative rock, small stuff) the shizz out of that area along with a few stepping stones. The stones would give you something to step on and keep your feet dry. This might require you to trim the bottom edge of your fence gate.

      Small amount of work, it will look 10x better and the tree shouldn't be harmed and you shouldn't have to consult your neighbor.

      That is a beautiful tree and I wouldn't want to hurt it, so keep damage as minimal as possible.

    10. Member
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      Mansfield, MA
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      05-24-2012 04:12 PM #10
      The roots might affect the foundation. My sense is that if it is a poured foundation, it might be okay. But if it is a concrete block foundation, a tree root will find its way into any crack. However, I would not recommend cutting any roots for a number of reasons. First, utilities. Regardless of how deep you think those wires are, you never know. It’s a safe bet that there is some tangling of wires and roots. Next is the effect it will have on the tree. Cut roots mean dead limbs. Dead limbs will fall on your house or on you. Then you have a half dead tree and a neighbor who is pissed off that you killed his/her beautiful tree (it is a Cherry, btw). Also, for every root you cut, expect three more to grow back. Not to mention that cutting roots makes the tree susceptible to infection, which could, over time, kill the tree and piss off the neighbor. Your idea of digging out the dirt around the roots and placing gravel is going to be a PITA. One wrong swing of the shovel and we’re back to the problem of cutting roots. The reason that you have flooding near that gate is because of the gutter downspout. Finally, are you certain that the tree is on your neighbor’s property? Just because the fence is there doesn’t mean that’s where the property line really is.

      My recommendations: get a surveyor or civil engineer to stake out your property line so you know exactly who the tree belongs to. Then take care of that downspout. Get the water away from that corner of the building. Look into putting the downspout at the other end of the gutter or section together some elbows to let the water dump out on the driveway. Once you take care of the water, I’d suggest a couple inches of mulch. It will protect the roots from damage and make it a little smoother to walk on.

      If you're concerned about the roots damaging your foundation, then removal of the tree and roots is the only solution. As I said before, cutting a couple of roots will not solve the problem. It will only come back years later. If you need to talk to your neighbor about removing the tree, you might present it to him/her as “I’m concerned about the tree roots compromising the underground utilities and foundation.” Playing the safety card is a lot better than “I hate that I can’t wheel my trash cans over the roots.”
      Last edited by fife78; 05-24-2012 at 04:16 PM.

    11. Member wildcar's Avatar
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      Dec 4th, 2003
      hagerstown md
      IY 20th
      05-25-2012 08:07 AM #11
      Your problem started with that down spout, the trees roots are chasing the water from your gutter. you need to go to a local nursery and find out how invasive cherry tree roots are. some trees roots will go staight through concrete ( weeping willow) and some cant. most fruit trees have very shallow roots and are not very strong so your foundation should be ok as long as it is built right.
      On a second note you SHOULD trim the tree down some and not let it get too tall. there is a reason fruit orchards keep their trees short and its not only so the mexicans can reach the fruit ( calm down im rican my self).

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