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Postby Treeman » Sat Feb 26, 2005 7:59 pm

Way too many variables to draw any sort of useful conclusion over the net. Speculation is only going to confuse the issue
A few more details please.

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Postby Alan Harris » Sun Feb 27, 2005 3:28 pm

Dear Coachman

25m high willows 6m from a house are not a problem unless the ground is shrinkable clay.

If the soil is shrinkable the effects of the roots can be as little as a few metres away and as much as 30m to 40m depending on soil type.

More information please.

Regards


Alan Harris
Alan is a consulting engineer specialising in subsidence, tree roots, soils and party wall surveying.
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Postby Beech » Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:20 pm

It may also depend on where the nearest water is, and so the rootrun from the tree.
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Postby irked » Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:18 pm

If those willow roots are near drains they are notorious for finding even the tiniest way into them and once there expand and grow into a thick mat which will block the drain
apparently this especially occurs with old clay pipe drains and outlets of inspection chambers to the main sewers are particularily vulnerable
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Postby Mikeiow » Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:40 pm

We have a ~18 year old house with a willow which we have kept pruned down to around 4m tall (probably around 3-4m spread). The main trunk is perhaps 15cm diameter at the base.
It is around 8m from our house, and a few friends have suggested we should get rid of it.

The subsoil is quite sticky clay, boggy in winter & a bit cracked in summer :-(

Any experts have any observations on whether we can stop worrying, or indeed whether we should consider removing it !?

We're loath to since not much grows well & it is quite a feature in the garden !

cheers
Mike
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Postby Alan Harris » Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:46 am

Dear Mikeiow

From the size of the willow you are pruning it so severely that the moisture demand is very small. The roots will however have spread in the normal way unhindered but perhaps a little slowed. You are ok at the moment but if you leave the tree for more thean a couple of years and this coincideds with a dry summer you may have problems quite some distance from the tree. If you leave the pruning regime for longer you will be in trouble quickly regardless of summer weather because the growth will accellerate and cause subsidence in no time.

There are some dwarf versions around and if this one is then you can soften my advice.

Regards


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Postby Mikeiow » Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:11 am

Thanks Alan,
I guess we should think about ripping it out (or moving house - SEP [someone elses problem] ;-)

I've always had this vague thought that the roots of trees tended to only be as far from the trunk by either the width of the spread, or by the height (eg tall thin poplars could have very wide roots). Perhaps that is a bit of an old wives tale (& clearly it sounds like willows have their own agenda !) :oops:

I'm not sure if it is a dwarf version or not.

Cheers :-)
Mike
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Postby Mikeiow » Tue Apr 05, 2005 10:38 am

I should perhaps also have qualified this with the fact that the willow itself is not as old as the house, but is probably around 5-6 years old......
(think I'm off for the chainsaw & stump remover soon :roll: )
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Postby Alan Harris » Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:39 pm

Dear Mikeiow

Judging from the height and age the willow is not a dwarf. Un restrained it could grow to about 20m or more and will spread its roots in clay soil to 30m or more. If that happens in a clay soil then you can expect subsidence soon.

Regards
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Re: willow tree roots near buildings

Postby Jan Seymour » Sun May 15, 2005 7:07 pm

coachman wrote:Can you discuss how dangerous to buildings a 25 m willow tree could be to the general structure if it is only around 6 metres frombuilding
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Postby Alan Harris » Sun May 15, 2005 9:03 pm

Dear Jan

Assuming clay soil there is an expectation of subsidence of up to all of the building. Check for crack damage and monitor it and expect movement. If the soil is not clay expect no rot related damage at all

Regards

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Postby Mikeiow » Mon May 16, 2005 10:26 pm

Hello again,
Regarding my earlier posting, I meant to clarify one point: if we were to keep our willow pruned to around 4m, is it fair to assume the roots won't find themselves straying much more than 6m out in any one direction ?
I'm using your example (ratio) that unrestrained it might reach 20m & have roots reaching 30m.

In other words, to keep the moisture demand of the tree to the current level.

Or is it possible or likely that even heavily pruned, the roots might stray afar !!!?

Many thanks again !
Mike
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Postby Alan Harris » Tue May 17, 2005 12:41 am

Dear Mikeiow

Tree roots will continue to grow regardless of anything but the most severe pruning. The pruning you describe on a regular basis would be very severe and roots would be affected but they will continue to extend albeit at a lightly slower rate than normal. The problem is that widespread roots are just waiting to affect the houses they grow under. If pruning is stopped for more than a few years the moisture uptake from the roots will be quite severe and is a sort of ticking bomb! The problem is the same if the realisation of this risk is forgotten and the willow treated as a small inoffensive tree. We are in a zone where the behaviour of roots is not yet fully understood.

Regards

Alan Harris
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massive willow tree

Postby shady » Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:53 pm

The tree outside my flat is higher than the house roof, it is less than 5 metres away from building, and blocking light from window. Can I insist on something being done about this. It is on open plan council property.
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Postby Alan Harris » Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:36 am

Dear Shady

If the council open plan policy covers your property I am sure that you can get them to impose their rules (unless they are also a green council and have morally sold out to tree preservation regardless.

You may also be protected by the new high hedges legislation. You should get hold of the explanatory guidelines which go with the Chapter 8 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 to see whether the sight lines suggested by them are encroached upon by the tree position.

Regards


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