Avoid damage to tree

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by davesnothome, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. davesnothome

    davesnothome DIY Member

    Ontario, Canada
    I have a big maple, roughly 50-60 feet high in front of the house. I am getting my water service line replaced next week.They have to trench to the house and the tree is about 8 feet to the left of where the trench has to be dug, and they will be using a back hoe to trench close to the house and drag through the new 3/4 copper supply. I'm concerned with the tree roots if it is going to kill the big tree when they make the dig. They say that they will trim the tree roots with a chain saw....whats the odds on this tree surviving? and is there anything I can do to save the tree? Its a very healthy maple, and I would hate to see it die... I will get some pictures here as soon as I can.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2009
  2. jeffeverde

    jeffeverde Member

    Talk to an arborist for a professional opinion (if you can't find arborists listed in the phone book, your local nursery should be able to refer you).

    If the arborist has bad news, horizontal drilling might be an option. There are mini-rigs for situations like yours, where trenching isn't an option.
  3. rmelo99

    rmelo99 Network Engineer

    I just went to a simliar situation as you. I was having a trench dug to the garage and there is a big maple 3ft from where the trench had to go.

    The guy I had dig the trench didn't want to do it at first. I did some research online and here is what I found. There is a table that shows how tolerant certain species of trees are to root damage.



    What I agree with the guy that dug my trench was that if there were any "BIG" roots we would not cut them but just dig as close to them, finish by hand and then tunnel under them.

    There were 2 large sections of roots 8+" around that we didn't disturb. Anything that was 3" or less he dug thru. I felt comfortable that the tree wasn't badly traumatized. Digging was limited to one side.

    I'm no expert, just did some homework. In addition my trench was just filled in last week, so I can't report on any long term affects on the tree.

    Good luck and I wish the best for your tree!
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    Professional help is the best course here. A 60' maple is a speciman tree, which is a valuable part of your property. 8' from the trunk seems like that is well within the canopy zone, so trenching with a backhoe seems unadvisable/
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    IF that area had ALL the tree's roots, it could be a problem, but since the roots are all around the tree, I doubt that you have anything to worry about. The tree has massive redundency. As for the hardiness of trees, you can cut them down, grind them level with the ground, plant grass over the stump, and 25 years later you will still have problems with the roots growing into the sewer.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    You cut major root systems, and in the next really big windstorm, it might just end up horizontal...talk to a pro, let them help. Sort of like trying to keep a 4-leg chair standing when you cut off one leg.

    Keep in mind that the shortest distance is nice, but it doesn't have to run straight...
  7. davesnothome

    davesnothome DIY Member

    Ontario, Canada
    The main shutoff is just left of the tree about 8ft away. So they are attempting to trench towards the house which is about another 8-10 ft where I have a deck at the front of the house. Then they are going to break up the basement floor, and fish some aircraft cable through the existing pipe which will be about another 8 feet, hook that up to the new pipe and with the backhoe drag the new pipe through to the exterior service valve. This is only the "PLAN" so far, hoping to not have to remove my front porch. The
    City already came and replaced the water box...so that is new. But I think I will get an opinion on the tree...its a beautiful maple about 60 or 70 years old.The tree is very healthy and Id hate to loose it. I have read that it sometimes takes a few years before the actual damage effects the tree.
  8. davesnothome

    davesnothome DIY Member

    Ontario, Canada
    Sept08 001.jpg

    Sept08 002.jpg

    Sept08 003.jpg

    Sept08 004.jpg

    Here is the olnly pics. I can take some more of the tree and the proposed digging area. If you look at the first picture, the idea is to dig about 3feet inside the walkway directly towards the front of the house
    just inside of the front porch step. Then drag the line from inside house out under the deck. The reason you see the hole in the picture, was because the City came out to do a locate and prove. They used the bager
    vacum digger and found a leak on the city side, installed a new box and a temp plastic connector. Then they backfilled the hole they dug for liability reasons and said the plumber would be able to connect directly to the new water box. Also to note, that on the City side it is lead pipe...I was not happy about that. They said because Im renenwing my side, that I would go on a list for City side replacement as well. I asked the City guy, well why dont you replace it now while Im doing my side? he said there is a big list of people, and it would be noted for replacement. YEh right.....WHEN, who knows.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  9. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Columbus, OH
    I wish that my city would be considerate when it comes to trees...

    FWIW, the city came and planted a tree (a silver linden, I think) right between my water supply line and my sewer line. They're only 4 feet or so apart. Had to dig up the sewer line not 4 months after the tree went in...fortunately it hadn't developed many roots yet because this was in winter.

    Water supply line still needs to be done...
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