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Is this maple potential trouble?

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ilyaz

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This maple has been planted many moons ago by the city on the city right of way in front of my house. Its roots have been growing in my front yard. Mowing the lawn has become a pain but it's bearable. But should I be concerned about these roots doing some sort of damage to the foundation of my house in the long term? The main cast iron sewer pipe from 1960 between the house and the street is located near the tree and it gets clogged with roots every few years. Can the roots cause the pipe to collapse?

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Sparky617

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Tree roots and cast iron pipes aren't a great combination. They tend to work their way into the joints and as you have found clog them. I don't think the tree will cause the pipe to collapse though. The other big issue is pushing the sidewalk up and creating trip hazards. That said, you may not be able to take the tree down, it is in the city ROW and they likely control it. It appears to be far enough away from your house that it shouldn't be an issue for your foundation.

I would start with the city to determine what if anything can be done. Maples tend to be shallow rooted and aren't great sidewalk trees.
 

kok328

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I don't like taking trees that big down. It's a nice tree for shade and took years to grow.
However, your in a bad spot. Like Sparky has mentioned, it's not YOUR tree.
I had a similar situation on one my previous homes.
It's the cities tree but, leaves in the fall are my problem. routing out the roots from the sewer lines every year is my problem. sidewalk heaves or otherwise creates a trip hazard and get sued, my problem. paying to have the sidewalk repaired by the city or city contractor ($ by the square), my problem, tree falls on my house, my problem.
talk to your city and see if they are more understanding than my locale.
 

Bob Reynolds

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If you look at a tree, you see beautiful branches which are full of leaves in the spring, summer and fall. A wise man once told me that the root system of a tree mimics the width of the branches. In other words the roots generally do not exceed the branch canopy.

Since the branches of the tree are not near your house, I don't think you have anything to worry about as far a the roots possibly damaging your foundation.
 

ilyaz

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I am torn. I hate it when healthy big trees are cut down. If it wasn't for the roots on my side and the sewer issue, I would let it be. One option is to cut the roots on my side along the edge of the sidewalk. Not sure if that will kill the tree.

The city has been planting and replanting cherries in our neighborhood. But of course they only remove old dying ones. So unless I keep pressing on them, I am sure they'll do nothing about the maple.

The tripping issue is the issue too. Don't want some "smart" neighbor to sue me for tripping after rain or an ice storm!

Will be talking to the city
 

Sparky617

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Replacing the cast iron sewer line with PVC plastic with glued joints would probably eliminate the tree root issue, but at a pretty high cost. The wrong street tree can be a never ending maintenance nightmare. The roots pushing up the sidewalk and the roots in the sewer lines are going to be constants until the tree is removed or dies on its own. As Bob points out the roots pretty much follow the drip line (branch spread) of the tree, so you foundation shouldn't be a problem.

Good luck with the city. If you show them you're having to get your sewer roto-rooted every year or two your case might be a bit stronger on getting the tree removed. I hate to lose trees, but by the same token roto-rooting your sewer line shouldn't be an annual event. Cheaper short term than replacing the sewer line, but still not cheap.
 

Jeff Handy

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Hah, your village is planting cherry trees!
They are short, they attract birds which poop on cars, they block the sight lines trying to exit your driveway, and many will die in five or ten years from canker.

They are easily wounded by lawn mowers, or by bunnies and rodents eating the bark.
Then a canker disease enters the wound and the tree is dead a few years later.
 

ilyaz

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Hah, your village is planting cherry trees!
They are short, they attract birds which poop on cars, they block the sight lines trying to exit your driveway, and many will die in five or ten years from canker.

They are easily wounded by lawn mowers, or by bunnies and rodents eating the bark.
Then a canker disease enters the wound and the tree is dead a few years later.
Maybe these trees are lower maintenance for the city. A lot of them do look kind of ugly when they are old, but the city turns them over fairly regularly. Plus we have electric wires on poles not in the ground so smaller trees are better in that regard.
 

Sparky617

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Maybe these trees are lower maintenance for the city. A lot of them do look kind of ugly when they are old, but the city turns them over fairly regularly. Plus we have electric wires on poles not in the ground so smaller trees are better in that regard.
Smaller trees are definitely a better idea with power and telco cables over head. Nothing looks quite as good as a maple or elm with the center cut out of it to clear the power lines. /sarc.
 

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