Thread: Tree Roots and covering them

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Dalton, GA

    Tree Roots and covering them

    If I have to set a building or something on tree roots, would it make sense to drill angled holes in the ground around the bulding and maybe install pvc pipe in the holes??? That way water can get under the building and to the roots. Maybe even drill thru the floor too?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Waco, Tx

    RE: Tree Roots and covering them

    I would say no, for the sake of the building, one normally does not want to add moisture underneath a building, whether slab, basement, or raised foundation. If the building rots or foundation subsides due to excess moisture, more construction will follow which will stress tree more. Best to get it over with by doing things right the first time.
    The drip line of the building will be the area where the rainfall will be concentrated from the roof on each side of the building (with typical gable style roof). New tree roots will probably concentrate there due to increased moisture. The roots underneath the bldg. may or may not be deprived of moisture, depends.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Dalton, GA

    RE: Tree Roots and covering them

    So, if a building just HAS to go along the outside dripline of a good size tree, what's the best way to care for the tree? If some of the roots are going to be covered and/or cut, would I also have to cut some branches to comphensate? How would you handle this situation? Overwater the remaining roots? What if the tree is like an oak tree (branches tied to roots on same side of tree)?

  4. #4

    RE: Tree Roots and covering them

    I'm well outside of the range of things that I understand well, so take this with a shakerfull of salt, but it doesn't sound good for the tree. My guess is that the tree is a loss. Buildings and trees just don't do well together--either the building interferes with the tree or the tree damages the building. You can, of course, give it a try: Put the structure in, do whatever needs to be done to the tree's roots to make this happen, and then hope for the best. But the outlook doesn't seem too rosey to me. I sure hope I'm wrong!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Dalton, GA

    RE: Tree Roots and covering them

    Yeah, I know it wouldn't be good for the tree, but are there steps I can take to increase the odds the tree will adjust? What can be done "extra" for the tree?

    Right now I have 3 80yrs old oak trees with buildings all around them and a road and a driveway and they seem to be doing "ok" at least. I'm sure its not what they would like, but they're alive for now. The house has been here since 1941 and the garage since 1980 and the road.... Who knows but its been a LONG time.

    I've read something before about oak trees being connected to roots on the same side of the tree. And if you cut the roots on one side, just go ahead and cut the branches on that side as well to benefit the tree. Otherwise, the branches will die anyway and the whole tree will suffer from lack of water n food. Better to just cut the branches off and let the branches that will live have more food. Any sense to that? Have you ever heard that before?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Waco, Tx

    RE: Tree Roots and covering them

    If your bldg. footprint is outside of the dripline of the tree's canopy, the only thing I'd do would be to provide additional water once or twice a month during the hot dry summer, and possibly during the fall if your area experiences a drought. Tree should be able to reestablish.
    Odds are it will come thru ok. Some trees (post oaks) are supposed to be very finicky about this sort of thing. Most others aren't if you remain outside their dripline.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Dalton, GA

    RE: Tree Roots and covering them

    That's what I was thinking too. Give it more water. Also, maybe rake up the leaves and put them into a fast composter and spread the compost back down. Any ideas on how to build a fast composter? I have plenty of steel barrels n things like that. I hear you can compost in 2 weeks.

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