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Deterring root growth?

Discussion in 'Landscaping' started by Ouga, 10th Jan, 2016.

  1. Ouga

    Ouga Well-Known Member

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    Hi guys,

    The neighbours have conifer trees that have been planted almost on the fence line.
    In fact, the bark is just 2.3 meters from our external wall.
    The trees were planted a few years ago and have now grown a lot and are probably around 7m high. I do not know how much they will keep on growing, but I know conifers tend to grow tall and if they keep going at this rate, they are going to be huge.
    We are concerned the roots might be causing damage to our fondations in the future.
    To make things more difficult, the space between our wall and the fence is all concreted and our side is elevated, so there is a layer of concrete and bricks under that (see the photo).
    This makes creating a root barrier pretty much impossible as we would have to cut through the concrete and then the bricks just to reach the neighbour's ground level.

    There is however a small gap between the concrete on bricks and the fence, just a few cm wide.
    I was wondering if there was something we could do to prevent/deter root growth along the fence on our side?

    I have read - but do not know if this is true - that roots do not like copper? In which case, I could hammer down some copper pipes along the fence at regular internals and that might create some form of barrier.

    Other ideas include regularly watering with weedkiller, but that would only work on the surface, and I am not sure how well. I would not want to kill the tree either. Not sure what would happen if some of the roots absorbed some of the weedkiller? Would it kill the roots only, or spread to the whole tree?

    Any other ideas or suggestions as to how I can mitigate this risk?

    Cheers
     

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  2. Blacky

    Blacky Well-Known Member

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    I would just get some glyphosate (roundup) and spray it on the area. It wont kill the tree, but should deter the root growth...maybe
     
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  3. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Salt
     
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  4. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty big! Did they transplant them?

    Is it the pencil type conifers that grow tall and thin but once their top breaks (wind etc) That they won't grow any taller? Does that apply to all confers?
     
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  5. Ouga

    Ouga Well-Known Member

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    @bob shovel A Google street view shows the trees were planted in 2009, they were so small back then, barely reached the top of the fence.
    And now they are huge.
    These ones are not tall and thin, rather talk and wide!
    I went to the local Bunnings and they had something that looked similar from the leaves I compared: cuprocyparis leylandii 'Leighton green' . Now, I am not sure it's exactly the same, but they look similar. If so, they grow up to 10m and 4 m wide.

    Interested to know as well about your last point.

    @Scott No Mates : do you pour the raw salt crystals on the ground? Mix it with water? Or I could hammer down a pipe in the gap between the fence and the concrete and fill the hole with salt ?

    I know salt prevents all vegetation from growing - no issues with that - will it kill the tree?

    Thanks for the ideas guys, desperate for any other tips! :)

    Cheers
     
  6. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    you can get root gaurds.......just did a google. appears you need a root master! sydney based
    Rootmasters Non Destructive Excavation of Underground Utilities

    dont know where the your roots are but do a search for vacuum excavation or non destructive digging in your area. Its basically a kick ass gurni and vacuum cleaner! get them to dig in a trench about a metre deep (i guess?) then drop in a thick plastic barrier. the problem will be they will need to do the work in your neighbours side and also they may damage the existing roots, fence looks close to the trunk which means there will be main roots. damage to them may kill the tree.
    Untitled.jpg

    have you had a chat to the neighbour? is there any benefit to these trees?? is there a chance the neighbour wants it gone? you could use the price for the barrier as reason to get things happening... they remove the tree!
     
    Last edited: 11th Jan, 2016
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  7. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Don't contaminate your soil using salt as it will permanently destroy the soil and make it infertile.

    Roots from pine trees are mostly harmless - inlike many other species. Tall pines have a propensity to fall over in saturated soil and high wind - causing the roots to avoid growing on one side will increase the risk.
     
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  8. Fargo

    Fargo Well-Known Member

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    Spraying glyphosate on the ground wont do anything, it is deactivated on contact with soil and even if it didn't, it needs sunlight to work. If it killed the roots the of course tree would die, it translocate all through the tree, if it doesn't kill the tree it wont kill the roots
     
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  9. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Glyphosate works on broad leaf vegetation like grasses, vines, ivy etc. Won't work on pines.
     
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  10. Fargo

    Fargo Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the type of pine tree, a Leper pine will raise and crack a concrete floor. It depend on the soil too, tree roots could dry out a clay soil causing shrinkage and cracking, you may need get some proffessional advice and find out what type of soil is under the house. It probably wont be a problem, but do you want to take a chance?
     
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  11. Fargo

    Fargo Well-Known Member

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    Round will work on trees if you drill a hole in them and pour it in and plug it. Round up will work on fine leaf vegetation, including fine leaf grass it will work on just about anything that is green.
     
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  12. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Pencil pines etc are recommended trees to plant near sewer lines etc and lots of people put them right up next to fences, houses, etc - probably because they're not a problem. How about find out what kind of conifer it is, find out how big the roots are, and then - if you still have them - talk about your concerns with your neighbour?
     
    Last edited: 11th Jan, 2016
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  13. Ouga

    Ouga Well-Known Member

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    Thank you everyone for the great replies!
    There are a few options to explore here.
    The neighbour is benefitting from the trees as we have a couple bedroom windows looking directly into their backyard. I believe they are the ones who planted them in the first place. The previous owner really should have been telling them to plant them at the required distance, but it's too late for that now!

    I would have definitely gone down the root barrier route, unfortunately it cannot be done on my side of the fence, since there is literally no space available to do that.

    It seems I will need to get someone to precisely identify the kind of conifer it is, so I can get some details about its roots system. What I also intend to do is try and get a copy of the building plans of the house, to see how deep the foundations are. We are built over a mains (which I believe are encased in concrete), so they may be a fair bit of concrete underground.

    Once I get all that, I'll see if I need to pursue this further. Hopefully not :)

    Thanks all!
     
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  14. Liam Blanden

    Liam Blanden Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Try these, Ive never had a root problem.
     
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  15. Ouga

    Ouga Well-Known Member

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  16. Brian84

    Brian84 Well-Known Member

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    I was waiting for Scott no mates to upload something like this. I'm glad someone did. Well done.
     
  17. Andrew H

    Andrew H Well-Known Member

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    You could get a quote from a waterblaster. They have water blaster machines that cut through concrete so the few centre metres you have may allow them to cut a line in the dirt. Then you can drop some sheet metal down in between to stop the roots. Best thing is if there are roots already there the water blaster will cut through them. Then you just suck up any excess mud, water, dirt with a wet n dry vac (hire). Don't worry about clogging them they go good and can handle it. Job done, fast and fairly cheap too as water blasters would only need an hour.
     
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  18. Ouga

    Ouga Well-Known Member

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    Thanks mate that is a great idea!
    Definitely something I will look into if I need to action this.
    Cheers!