Oaks: Dumb Question - Tree & Foundation of house

Discussion in 'Fagaceae (beeches, oaks, etc.)' started by didadi, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. didadi

    didadi Member

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    Hi,
    I'm in the process of buying a house and there is a big old oak tree (in the backyard) which is very close (around 38 inches) to the foundation of the house. The tree is almost 20+ yrs old while the house is just 3 yrs old. So the tree existed before the house was built. I had an arborist come over and take look and he says is perfectly fine,since the "fast growth" of the tree is already over. There will be extremely slow growth in future and very unlikley that it will affect the foundation.

    The tree type is Live Oak Tree (i live in central texas).
    The house is built using slab-grade foundation type.

    Please give your feedback about the risks.
     
  2. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    Whoa,

    For what its worth that tree was planted without taking into account a house may be built in the future.

    Its far too close to a house..your risk but it will be some time before it stops growing depending how tall it is now. Here is something about your tree.

     
  3. didadi

    didadi Member

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    Thanks - doubt if it was planted by somebody. It existed and house was built around it. I am seriously breaking my head as the
    size to which it can grow potentially damage the house bigtime!
     
  4. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    I hate to suggest it but tree surgeon.

    Or, depending on the future, you may be able to insure against the foundations crumbling.

    Or have some redress against the house builder's blunder with the plans, i'm surprised the plans got passed.
     
  5. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    didadi, you have already done what I would do first: you have consulted an arborist.

    My feeling is that the house will probably be OK...but---
    1. Agree with Katalina that the construction of the house so close to a large-growing tree was ill-advised;
    2. Think that further consultations, with a masonry/foundation specialist AND with your insurance agent, would be in order. If the tree DID damage the foundation, what would be your reimbursement---if any? Would this even be covered under a homeowner's policy? Come to think of it, a talk with your realtor might not be a bad idea either. Home inspector, perhaps?

    And your question is most certainly NOT dumb.
     
  6. didadi

    didadi Member

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    I felt the arborist was kind of dumb....After reading lot of reviews, I was not convinced enough about the arborist. Seriously, he sounded dumb!.... Atleast I was not convinced 100% as to what he said.
     
  7. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    I f contracts have not been signed...forget that plot and wait..
     
  8. didadi

    didadi Member

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    Oh well - more fun today ;-)

    This is the latest news on it. Its so sad that the realtor (who is helpless),owner who is disabled are not in a position to gather me more information on this. Yes,this is definitely a worrysome stuff as it might affect the foundation in due course.
    I had contacted every possible person on earth to gather more info specifically about this foundation. (As to how the builder passed the inspection in the first place) to build a house so close to the big tree. (like I contacted Lennar builders etcetc)..Nothing happened nor did I get any information.

    Today morning, I spoke to City authority and they will be having all the info. A lady contacted me JUST NOW and told me that this house has some sort of "Tree Root Shield Detail/Barrier" installed during the construction. That is a BIG breather for us and we should be good to go on this. I'm so glad to hear that this barrier has already been in installed during the foundation. We are really feeling less worried now and
    ready tomove in.:-). Also, i'm having and reading every single document that I wanted to see (specially regarding the root barrier and what was installed!).
     
  9. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Great news, didadi! What a load off your mind. Happy for you!
    How about photos of tree and house?
     
  10. didadi

    didadi Member

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    check the doc file. Its a jpg inside.. :-) I should have done this on my post #1
     

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  11. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    You must keep all paper work relating to your house,

    And anything from your searches, anything from government bodies like building inspectors, lawyers.

    Never throw these very important documents away, put them in a bank vault, or a safe at home thats fire proof.

    I know, extreme measures but needed.

    Good luck didadi, in the summer return with photo of home and tree in full bloom.
     
  12. rockjock4rdg

    rockjock4rdg Member

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    Hi, I just want to say I build houses in northern California, and I've never herd of a 'tree root shield'. I agree with the arborist that the root will go down now, looking for water; but that being said, if you put a lawn in and irrigate it the tree roots will come up chasing the water.

    Not to be totally negative, but in my experience Live Oaks are an accident waiting to happen. With their leaves staying on all year, winter storms can rip limbs off easily, not to mention the poky leaves themselves making a mess year round.

    I love trees, but Live Oaks around our developments up here are cleared away. Just some food for thought.
     
  13. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    There are tree root restrictors out there,

    And in summer..spread out like a starfish as it searches for even more of the wet stuff.

    I still blame the guy with the plans...and the clown who passed those same plans.
     
  14. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    I will start by saying I LOVE Live Oaks and wish I lived far enough south where I could plant one.

    THAT Live Oak is no longer in an acceptable place though. Root barrier or not, if the home has a basement and the foundation is any sort of concrete it will not appreciate the rapid changes in soil moisture which will occur with that large a tree THAT ridiculously close to it.

    Over the course of a decade existing trees in the back yards of new subdivision houses die from a combination of factors including excessive soil compaction caused by home building equipment and the change of their immediate environment caused by the removal of the "forest" of trees around them which shared the brunt of the wind. I question the health of a tree which just suffered the removal of 1/3 of its roots to the building of the house foundation 38 inches away!

    If the home does not have a basement then eventually that tree will grow entirely over it. An unacceptable risk to the folks living in there. The pictures of mature wide spreading hundreds of years old live oaks are noteworthy not because every live oak is that stable but because many, most, almost all, of all species of trees fail before reaching that size.

    Put simply, the darned thing is a ridiculous risk to fall on the home and kill or whoever is inside. IF it does live a long healthy life its trunk will be expanding into your home!

    Just cut it down now, put a bush or japanese maple in its spot, and plant a live oak out in the middle of the yard.
     

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