What to do about a pear tree's roots that crack foundations?

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Bridgette
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What to do about a pear tree's roots that crack foundations?

Post: # 79562Post Bridgette »

I've been quiet for the past few months because we were busy relocating... we finally moved to a 4000m2 plot in the middle of the Karoo - it's absolutely awesome, but tiring... there's still so much for this city girl to learn!!! :wink:

Big problem though... our house is nearly 150 years old - it's gorgeous, but there's a huge (about 9m high!) old pear tree growing about 3 metres away from our veranda - it's cracking our wall, as well as a huge, long crack down the centre of our verandah. :(

What can I do? I obviously don't want to harm the tree, but I also want to preserve my lovely new house. :cry: I've been told to dig trenches between the veranda and the tree and throw everything from boiling water, to poison down - I really don't want to use poison, and I really don't want to hurt the tree... :pale: I realise I still have loads to learn, but is it possible to preserve my tree, as well as my house?

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Post: # 79618Post Millymollymandy »

I'm afraid that house has to come first! I would take the tree out and plant a new one in a more suitable place. But it might be best to talk to a tree surgeon and/or a builder, because you might do more damage to the foundations taking the tree out yourselves.

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Post: # 79680Post Bridgette »

Thanks for the reply MMM!

I've been told about a certain poison that you can apparently pour into a trench between the house and the tree... apparently it doesn't kill the tree, but actually makes the rootes 'divert' when they grown new one's in the direction of he poison :shock: ... and then the roots which are already under the house will die off!

Not sure how true this is, but apparently architects use it nowadays when they build on newly reclaimed forest areas, but unfortunately all the architectural firms I've tried to contact in the past few days are closed for the festive season :roll: , so I'll just have to be patient and wait it out. Hopefully there is some fact to this story... anybody else ever heard of something like this? I'd be deleriously happy if this is true :drunken: !

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Post: # 79694Post Millymollymandy »

I haven't heard of it but if you have a chance to save both tree and house then that woud be great!

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Post: # 79855Post old tree man »

hi
to give both options a chance you can dig a trench between the tree and your house pruning the roots down as you go deeper this will not harm the tree as they will re-generate just like branch pruning, you must dig down at least 1 metre then using thick grade plastic lay it on the bottom of the trench and up the side near the house and then infill ,the main problem that you may have is that if very broad roots have penetrated that area the tree will become unstable and DANGEROUS and must be felled for the greater good , but at least you have given it a chance.
i must say if you do have to fell the tree dried pear logs do burn great with a lovely aroma.
hope this has helped
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Post: # 79856Post old tree man »

Just to add
if the roots are quite substantial that do go under your property they do take quite a long time to die off but as they totally die off they will of course leave a void which must be filled or your property will suffer then you will need the advise of a structual engineer
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Post: # 80830Post Smooth Hound »

less damage will be done to the tree if it is done during the winter, whilst the tree is dormant, but dont leave your trench or roots open to the frost, if you have to leave it over night then make sure you cover it with something to protect from the wind and frost

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Post: # 107718Post DominicJ »

Consult a builder/structual engineer pronto.

Leaving the tree is causing damage, but removing it will as well.

Its a serious job.
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Post: # 108774Post Bridgette »

Hi Everyone!

Thanks so much for all the advice... it's been a hectic year so far with our new, huge property - but so far, so good!

As for the 'pear tree' dilemma... well! We finally got hold of a structural engineer who was actually here on holiday and he basically gave us the same advice as the Old Tree Man - but said the houses foundations were really, really deep and we would luckily therefore be causing less damage than it's going to cause in the long run.

Anyway, needless to say - we got stuck in about 2 months ago(...hubby got home from Iraq on holiday and I immediately put him to work...) - dug trenches, lay down vertical sheets of corrugated iron, then closed the trench on the side where the tree is, left the roots open the other side... slashed them and left them exposed to seriously hectic frost conditions for nearly 3 weeks - then threw poison down on the side closest to the house and closed it up again! We've put slabstone paving down on the side where we put the poison as we were informed that nothing would grow there for many, many years - so let's hold thumbs hey!!!

So far, so good! The pear tree is still seriously doing well - it hasn't even lost all of it's leaves yet... so that must be a good sign? Now it's just a 'wait and see' game of whether our 'stoeps' (I think it's what you guys call a verandah) foundations are eventually going to collapse!!!

Now my biggest problem is all the birds... they aren't leaving this year and are dieing on a huge scale from the cold!!! What's up with that? Not sure whether it's a good thing or not, but since they started dieing, I've been putting seeds out for them just hoping that I can keep their strength up to get to wherever they're going!!!!
...don't know if that's what's keeping them here?
Any ideas?

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Post: # 109008Post Millymollymandy »

I don't know what birds they are but your swallows are back here as usual. I don't know if there are any other European migrators that winter in SA.

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Post: # 109093Post Bridgette »

Not sure which of them would go to Europe!?! :shock:

We've got Hoop Hoops, Robins, Wild Finches, Woodpeckers, Swallows, Doves, Pigeons, Humming Birds... and those are just the few that I know the names of... :lol:

Coming from the city, this is the first time in my life I've seen most of these birds... but they aren't going anywhere! Our weather's been so strange that most of our fruit trees are actually getting new leaves all over again... even though we're 'officially' in the middle of our winter! They get new leaves... a few days later it's freezing cold again, then they die and fall... :roll: ...so I think the birds are confused!?!?

At least once a week I bury about 5 of them... :cry: and everyone's telling me not to feed them... but I don't see how they're going to make it if I don't :pale: ...

Am I doing the right thing, or must I stop? I'm seriously new at this 'small town/big property' thing...
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Post: # 109151Post MKG »

If your robins, finches, woodpeckers, doves and pigeons are anything at all like ours UK), they're supposed to stay where they are. Not all birds are migratory. And yes - if they're around, feed 'em all you can.

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Post: # 109281Post Millymollymandy »

I would feed them as well. Is it unusually cold there?

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Post: # 109727Post Bridgette »

It is unusually cold this year... besides the fact that we're more than 2000m above sea level, so it's usually really cold in the Karoo in winter, and incredibly hot in summer... but winter apparently came sooner this year.

Anyway... turned my laundry into a 'sick room' this weekend. Found a dove and 2 finches practically frozen to death on Friday afternoon, so put them in a basket with food and water on top of my tumble drier. By yesterday morning, they were fine and flying again, so opened the door and let them go... the dove keeps coming back, but since then, have found another finch and a robin in practically the same state. They don't even react when you pick them up and don't want to eat or drink - but seems that as soon as they warm up, they're fine... so we'll see how long my laundry room has tenants :lol: !!!

Thanks for all the advice guys! Really appreciate it... and yes, I am ignoring all the locals, and I am feeding them. Been putting out about 4kg of mixed wild bird seeds a week, as well as about 3kg's of sunflower seeds... think I need to put out more sunflower seeds though - it's disappearing faster and faster!!! :cheers:

So back to the grindstone for me!!!

Regards :flower:
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