Dawn Redwood heaving sidewalk.

ethicsgFebruary 3, 2011

I live on a residential street in a city on a hillside. Just above my property on the other side of the street is a seasonal spring in an empty lot. On my downhill property line are a pair of large 22" diameter breast height Dawn Redwoods. One is sending out a root across the street toward the spring and forcing up my sidewalk. Prior to moving in it was so bad they repaved the road because it had heaved up the whole road. The base of the tree is only inches from the side walk.

What I am wondering is once the concrete is up how aggressively can you root prune a tree of this size? If you are only taking out one root but it is a huge one is that enough to kill the tree? Once it is pruned do you need to cover the wound in some way? I have been calling aborists but no one has gotten back to me yet. I have read that when you transplant conifers you can prune up to 1/3 of the roots at the drip line then a year later do the same then, move the tree, but I am sure cutting off a root at the base of the tree would have far more dramatic effects.

Anyway if anyone has experience with root pruning on this scale I would love any wisdom or advice you might have.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


what you read about transplanting conifers is old school.. and not really relevant ...

is it really your sidewalk .... or the cities???

welcome to GW!!!!

is the tree really yours.. or is it in .. whats that new term i keep forgetting ... tree lawn .. the space between the walk and the road??? ... in other words.. is it yours or the cities ...

only an idiot government.. would fix the road.. and leave the tree... whats that all about .. and how much of the root mass did they kill redoing the road ??? .. and if you cant answer that issue.. i dont know how you can go.. willy nilly.. cutting roots off the other side ... perhaps you will be down to praying that there is anything left to hold that monster up .....

is your house in any danger ... should the road repair kill this thing in the future .... and start to fall toward your property ???? ..

if its not your tree.. and its in the cities easement.. i would be calling the city.. and asking them what they are going to do about the liability .. rather than spending my hard earned money fixing THEIR problem ....

most likely .. based simply on what you say.. w/o the benefit of pix... and lacking a lot of hard info.. i would get rid of them .. or better yet.. have the city get rid of them ....... or ask the city for liability insurance to cover your future potential loss ...

come back often...


    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 1:11PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Cutting the one large root could be detrimental. Best solution as far as accommodation of tree is concerned is raising section of sidewalk near tree. As was apparently done with road this would involve removing existing affected run and making a new one, higher up.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 1:13PM
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That's sounds rad. Let's see a picture. Screw the sidewalk. Not very constructive, but come on. The sidewalk should maybe be raised and repaved and smoothed out so somebody doesn't trip on broken concrete, but that tree is going to be a treasure to the neighborhood. Perfectionists will whine, but busted up sidewalks are no big deal - just smooth em over. If the root is bigger than an inch of two diameter and you cut it, you will see a lot of dieback in the parts of the tree that are fed by that root. It will look pretty ugly, but the tree will likely survive, lest portland gets an especially hot and dry summer.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 6:33PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Liquidambar styraciflua, sweetgum, was the large tree of choice to put in the easements between the sidewalks and the road during the seventies. Now they are heaving sidewalks and usually the cities just come by and repave. Sometimes the trees even attempt to encapsulate the pavement.

I want to see a picture ethicsg. Use photobucket.com or the like to post one.

Guys, is there any type of rubberish "flexible" sidewalk out there? MOBOT has a number of mature Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) in the middle of their main parking lot surrounded by grates of some kind. If there is I'd say forward a link to your local representative. May as well use big government to your advantage.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 10:30PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Guys, is there any type of rubberish "flexible" sidewalk out there?

Ground rubber has been used in running tracks and playground surfaces since at least the late 60s. I don't know how it would respond to tree roots, though.

MOBOT has a number of mature Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) in the middle of their main parking lot surrounded by grates of some kind.

This sort of iron tree grate?
Chicago uses grates which incorporate concentric circles; I always assumed the innermost circle was meant to be punched out as the tree grew too close to it.

There are also various types of blocks and grids for driveways and parking areas which include holes for grass. Around here they're used for some roadside ditches, to keep the sides from washing out. I don't know how they would respond to tree roots either.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:31AM
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The side walk contractors were also part time arborists and did a great job on the roots. Pruned a few and raised the concrete a bit too. I will get a shot of those trees up. Thanks for all the help.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 12:42AM
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