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Old 03-23-2009, 05:43 PM   post #1 of 21
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Help Cutting Tree Roots!

Hi Guys! I'm not a landscape guy by any means- I have a question about tree roots. In my front yard I have two large Chinese Elms (I think) they are about 2-1/2' in diameter. They are about 40 years old. One of them has some roots, maybe 3 or 4, that are coming up out of the ground higher and higher every year. They are now about 2 inches above the level of the ground. Only for a stretch of a foot or so each. (I'm sorry my camera isn't working). Can I cut them out and not kill the tree? I want to add some dirt to that area and level it out and plant grass seed.-Thanks-AL
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:57 PM   post #2 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

nope, and if you cover the roots you may kill teh tree as well. i would recommend mulching over them well jus tto make it look prettier than it does.
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:18 PM   post #3 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

Quote:
Originally Posted by illinilefttackle View Post
Hi Guys! I'm not a landscape guy by any means- I have a question about tree roots. In my front yard I have two large Chinese Elms (I think) they are about 2-1/2' in diameter. They are about 40 years old. One of them has some roots, maybe 3 or 4, that are coming up out of the ground higher and higher every year. They are now about 2 inches above the level of the ground. Only for a stretch of a foot or so each. (I'm sorry my camera isn't working). Can I cut them out and not kill the tree? I want to add some dirt to that area and level it out and plant grass seed.-Thanks-AL
I do stump removal. And I have taken a lot of "high roots" off for people that wanted them down so they can mow over them. I have not killed any trees yet, but I don't believe I have ever done it on Chinese Elms. If it was me, I would try it, but thats just me. You be the judge.

Good Luck
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:08 PM   post #4 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

Chinese elms are basicly 50 ft. weeds . you can't kill them . my dad had them ,an ice storm stripped 90 percent of the branches off , they just sprouted twice as many new branches. he cut them down and they started growing out of the stump. He finaly cut the bottom out of a burn barrel , set it over the stump and burned trash on the stump to kill it.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:41 PM   post #5 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

I'm sure it's a challenge to grow a dense stand of grass under them anyway, I go for mulching around them. The rule of thumb for mulching around trees according to UGA's horticulture program is the mulch bed should be as big as the crown of the tree.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:42 PM   post #6 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

I don't know about that specific type of tree, but I've cut many of my exposed tree roots and never had a problem. I'm not a pro by any means, but I usually go six inches to a foot on either side of the exposed root, dig down to the root with a shovel and simply cut it out with a sawzall. Maybe not "the correct way", but it's always worked for me.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:45 PM   post #7 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

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Originally Posted by deereboy55 View Post
Chinese elms are basicly 50 ft. weeds . you can't kill them . my dad had them ,an ice storm stripped 90 percent of the branches off , they just sprouted twice as many new branches. he cut them down and they started growing out of the stump. He finaly cut the bottom out of a burn barrel , set it over the stump and burned trash on the stump to kill it.
deereboy-I think your right! We planted these things because we wanted quick shade-we got it-and more too. I'm cutting away! Let you guys know how it works out! Thanks for the imput-AL
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:53 PM   post #8 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

Quote:
Originally Posted by deereboy55 View Post
Chinese elms are basicly 50 ft. weeds . you can't kill them . my dad had them ,an ice storm stripped 90 percent of the branches off , they just sprouted twice as many new branches. he cut them down and they started growing out of the stump. He finaly cut the bottom out of a burn barrel , set it over the stump and burned trash on the stump to kill it.
That thing sounds like "Night of the Living Dead!!!!!!!"
Thay any good for shade?
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Old 03-24-2009, 07:40 AM   post #9 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

Roots provide some very important functions for a tree. First is they transport water and nutrients from the root hairs to the trunk where it is then drawn up through the trunk and into the branches, twigs, and finally to the leaves.

Second, the Roots support the tree. Buy cutting or shaving the roots down you are weakening the trees ability to stay upright.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:02 AM   post #10 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

I have Locust trees in the front of my house, and their surface roots are forever encroaching my asphault driveway.

Every few years I'll break out the reciprocating saw, dig out around the problem root, then get to cutting.

I won't touch the roots around the base of the tree however. Will just mulch them and try to hide them... occasionally my deck lip will catch one that has raised up, and I'll go flying onto the hood. Good times!
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:40 AM   post #11 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ethal68 View Post
I do stump removal. And I have taken a lot of "high roots" off for people that wanted them down so they can mow over them. I have not killed any trees yet, but I don't believe I have ever done it on Chinese Elms. If it was me, I would try it, but thats just me. You be the judge.

Good Luck
I too have chipped thousands of stumps. Plain and simple- You can't kill a Chinese Elm. Same is true of Box Elders, White Poplars, Mulberry, and certain other fruit trees. Like deereboy55 said- They're just a big weed.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:48 PM   post #12 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

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Originally Posted by Harley Jeff View Post
I don't know about that specific type of tree, but I've cut many of my exposed tree roots and never had a problem. I'm not a pro by any means, but I usually go six inches to a foot on either side of the exposed root, dig down to the root with a shovel and simply cut it out with a sawzall. Maybe not "the correct way", but it's always worked for me.
I agree with H J, I have done this many times over the years and have never seen a tree die as a result! I, personally would not give it a second thought! Just cut away, level and reseed!
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:09 PM   post #13 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

I've cut them on maple and spruce,trees are still doing just fine.

You can use a chain saw if they're up high enough,I've used a carpenters type hatchet with a hammer,that works pretty good,but make sure to wear safety glasses and keep the heads dressed.

Got a few right now that need it,going to use chainsaw,hard on chain and bar but,gotta do what you gotta do sometimes[would hate to think about using a saws all,main that would be a slow go]
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:40 AM   post #14 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

W have 30 pine trees here and we are getting set to install drainage tile about 4ft from the foundation. In preparing for this I had to remove an old concrete driveway. We have lots of roots that are blocking the path of the tile and they wil be coming out. These trees are all mature so a cut here and there shouldnt harm them. We have one chinese elm in the front that's only about 6 feet tall and havent seen any roots on the surface yet.
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:15 PM   post #15 of 21
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Default Re: Cutting Tree Roots!

Good topic,just had a guy stump grind several stumps down for me,[first time I ever been around a stump muncher],well he went deep,right off the bat,he was cutting over a foot below ground level,,than you got a hole that you fill up with dirt and wood chips that he dug/ground up,which will sink in no time...but the stumps are gone.

One large stump and 7-8 little ones,250 dollars.

But price was going up[had more and roots],so said lets stop.

So,today had several roots up above ground level on several trees,took my old poulin and cut them off at ground level[and below in several instances],one spruce tree had many.

Totaly ruined the chain I'm thinking,[gets real hot,streaching,changeing colors],but thats just 20 bucks.

So,there you go,thats two ways to get rid of roots.
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