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Trees/Ash Tree Root Problem


ash tree heaving up driveway
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Hi, I just read a response regarding ash tree roots possibly lifting the foundation...I'm still skeptical about this...i have a 20 yr. old ash tree in my front yard....6 foot from the corner of my house to the side...the roots are heaving up the bottom corner of the driveway...about two feet from the tree, is the MAIN water pipes to the house...should I remove this beautiful tree? or keep it? I'd hate to cut it down but I don't want problems in the future!
Thank you for any help you may have,

The roots should not be as great a concern as the branches. If the branches grow to rub against the house, it will damage the tree and perhaps the house. The tree should be kept at least 20 feet from the house, this should be sufficient to avoid problems. This is farther than the branches will spread because this tree has a very upright growth form. The roots will extend much farther from the trunk than the branches; however, if your home has no leaks under the foundation, the roots will not grow in the dry soil under the house. The worst that would happen is that the roots will grow up to the foundation and then run parallel to the foundation.  Realizing the tree over time will get large as it grows and the limbs extend to the house the branches that touch the house will need to be pruned.

With the tree this close to the driveway you will continue to have the up lifting of this cement. It also seems to be a small space for this large a tree species. The water pipe should not be a problem since the pipes are usually laid deep in the ground (3 feet or more. The majority of tree roots are in the first 2 feet of soil.

The branches of the tree extending into the drive should be pruned up so they will not hit the cars or people. About 8 feet fro the ground would be normal pruning height. Whether you remove it or not is hard to determine from a picture. The negatives are--the roots will continue to be a problem for the driveway. the tree is blocking the view of the house, the space the tree is growing in seems small. Positives are the shade from the tree, the beauty, and fall color. So it is up to you as a preference if the tree stays. If you can take the driveway and prune the lower limbs then keep the tree. If not remove it. You did not say where you are located--if in the US I would try calling the State Forestry agency and asking one of their Foresters to come take a look and advise you on the ground. This is a free service in most states.

I hope this helps.  


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Jim Hyland


I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.


34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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