Advice on loading above tree roots

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TobyT

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West of Bristol
This might be better directed at another forum, in which case, point away please :)

In my front garden I have a 4m high Acer growing in my front garden. The trunk, which splits quickly, is about 10-15cm wide and is growing about 60cm away from the front wall of the house. A light layer of gravel covers the ground. Right behind the Acer on the wall is the only downpipe for the front of the house and it would seem an ideal place to put a water butt. I'm thinking about a 280 litre one with a roughly 1000mm x 400mm base.

Something like this. 280 Litre Water Butt - Sandstone (as a side note why are they so expensive, other that the round black ones?)

Can I put this straight down on the gravel which is probably over the tree roots, or is this likely to cause an issue with compacting the soil underneath to an extent it would harm the tree?
I could place it on a few bricks at space intervals, which would increase the point load, but leave 'breathing' room. It would have the advantage of lifting the outlet further off the ground.
 
If there's room I'd put some slabs down to set the water butt on. The roots will spread out around the tree so you will only be covering a small percentage of the total area and the butt will be around 300kg all in
 
Looking at agriculture websites soil compaction is minimised though the use of low pressure tyres, ie big tyres that spread the load. The recommendation is limit pressures to 0.8bar or 11psi. Your 280 litre tank full with some vessel weight totalling 300kg over 1m x 0.4m equates to 1.1psi. I doubt you have any issue.
 
This might be better directed at another forum, in which case, point away please :)

In my front garden I have a 4m high Acer growing in my front garden. The trunk, which splits quickly, is about 10-15cm wide and is growing about 60cm away from the front wall of the house. A light layer of gravel covers the ground. Right behind the Acer on the wall is the only downpipe for the front of the house and it would seem an ideal place to put a water butt. I'm thinking about a 280 litre one with a roughly 1000mm x 400mm base.

Something like this. 280 Litre Water Butt - Sandstone (as a side note why are they so expensive, other that the round black ones?)

Can I put this straight down on the gravel which is probably over the tree roots, or is this likely to cause an issue with compacting the soil underneath to an extent it would harm the tree?
I could place it on a few bricks at space intervals, which would increase the point load, but leave 'breathing' room. It would have the advantage of lifting the outlet further off the ground.
The rose is upside down on the watering can. It’s almost as if a marketeer and a photograph has stage dressed it 😜

As the butt gets raised up on the stand you will need a paving slab at each corner to stop it sinking in but there should be no issue for the tree. As @Tris pointed out the ground area occupied by the butt is only a small fraction of where the trees roots travel. If the tree is going to grow to a large size I would also be concerned for your foundations as mentioned by @Gordon Tarling
 
I wonder who ever thought it a good idea to plant it that close to the house in the first place. We had to cut down an Acacia last year, lovely tree but unfortunately totally rotten so it was a case of cutting it down before it fell down. The tree was about 50 feet high. Doing some work recently I hit some of its roots, about 2 inches in diameter, and this was over thirty feet from where the trunk had been so goodness knows how far they reach out altogether. Fortunately this was in the garden and a good hundred feet from the nearest building. If the downpipe you refer to is connected to a drain, the roots will very likely penetrate that as well. I would certainly remove it.
 
I wonder who ever thought it a good idea to plant it that close to the house in the first place. We had to cut down an Acacia last year, lovely tree but unfortunately totally rotten so it was a case of cutting it down before it fell down. The tree was about 50 feet high. Doing some work recently I hit some of its roots, about 2 inches in diameter, and this was over thirty feet from where the trunk had been so goodness knows how far they reach out altogether. Fortunately this was in the garden and a good hundred feet from the nearest building. If the downpipe you refer to is connected to a drain, the roots will very likely penetrate that as well. I would certainly remove it.
Likewise. Tree, only 6" diameter, roots strong enough to cause damage, with the real trouble being insurance.
Once you 've made a subsidence claim (£1k excess), ins companies really don't want to know, even 10 years
later when they cleared up the problem!
These little saplings we plant have a habit of growing into b.. great trees!
 
My mother had a very young acer damaged during felling of a well established tree that presented substantial risk from its root structure and overall size. The arborist dropped a branch that split one half of the sapling acers trunk almost off. We basically wrapped string around its trunk to hold both parts of its split trunk back together. Here we are 15 years later and the acer is now a fine looking specimen that is fully recovered from the trauma it suffered in its early years but I seriously doubt it’s root structure will be at the point of causing any risk to property for quite a few decades yet as they aren’t exactly the fastest growing trees, it’s gone from a knee high twig to about 7 foot tall in that time.
 
Acers come in many shapes and sizes, Acer dissectum cultivars are rarely more than 8ft fully grown, whereas Acer pseudoplatanus is the common sycamore.

Whilst the advice to remove it is worth considering I would advise restraint until the precise cultivar is known
 
Would they advise the same for a wisteria? It has more root system than many Japanese maples
 
Would they advise the same for a wisteria? It has more root system than many Japanese maples
Undoubtedly in this risk adverse cover your buttocks world.
I had a had a three month back and forth about indemnity insurance because the house I was selling was NEXT to an area of land, already built on 50 years ago, that had been brick kilns 100 years ago.
 
I am afraid that anyone who plants a tree that close to a house is asking for trouble. We have had to state to our insurance company that there are no trees closer than 50 feet and cut down two silver birches that were 25 feet away (these two were just a couple of feet apart, who does that). Not to mention a large magnolia right against the rear wall. As an aside the common sycamore winged seeds are deadly to horses. Had friends who lost all four of their Shire Horses after these seeds blew into their field from a neighbouring property.
 
W
Would they advise the same for a wisteria? It has more root system than many Japanese maples
E have pretty large wisteria prob 30yo??

Trunk size of you thigh no problems I can see but ours is a heavy Stone house.
 
Thanks for the feedback, an sorry to open a can of worms!

The 'tree' is an acer palmatum, and a quick look at the RHS website suggests they can grow up to 8m, but usually in the 1-2m bracket. I will say this one grew quite quickly once a nearby shrub had been removed but has been at the 4m height for a couple fo years.

It is a newish (12 years old) build, and due to the dodgy ground should have been built on piles (even conservatories in the area need to be built on piles). Houses across the road have birch trees almost twice the height, and while they aren't within 60cm they are probably only 2m away. None of them have shown any subsidence; I assume due to the piling.

I've just been having a quick read round the internet and while there are some insurance tables published, acers plamatum don't appear. This article (Does it really matter if there's a tree near a building? | Local Surveyors Direct) suggests that they are a loads of codswallop anyway as there are too many variables. Supposedly grass near a property can have more of an impact than trees, due to it's earlier seasonal awakening and large root structures!

I'm guessing that the down pipe feeds into a soakaway. The front road drain isn't too far away, but there are no signs of manhole covers indicating a minor drain feeding in. The tree roots could be finding their way into the soakaway. My thought is that by putting in a waterbutt this will have minor impact; there is reduced water to the soakway (and hence tree) for a short period of time, but 280 litres will fill up quickly and it will be back to normal.
 
Trees in the wrong place cause problems and those problems get bigger along with the tree. A bigger tree is harder and more expensive to remove.
None of mine were close enough to the house to break up the footings but were towering over the house, blocking the sewer with roots, filling the gutters and roof valleys with leaves and being a huge fire risk. Also 3 of the 5 problem trees were planted by me. What looks like a nice and good fit in the garden at about 5m tall takes on a different aspect at 20 plus m tall. This last 8 or so years has cost me thousands having them removed. On the good side I managed to hold back some very expensive turning blanks.
Regards
John
 
Thanks for the feedback, an sorry to open a can of worms!

The 'tree' is an acer palmatum, and a quick look at the RHS website suggests they can grow up to 8m, but usually in the 1-2m bracket. I will say this one grew quite quickly once a nearby shrub had been removed but has been at the 4m height for a couple fo years.

It is a newish (12 years old) build, and due to the dodgy ground should have been built on piles (even conservatories in the area need to be built on piles). Houses across the road have birch trees almost twice the height, and while they aren't within 60cm they are probably only 2m away. None of them have shown any subsidence; I assume due to the piling.

I've just been having a quick read round the internet and while there are some insurance tables published, acers plamatum don't appear. This article (Does it really matter if there's a tree near a building? | Local Surveyors Direct) suggests that they are a loads of codswallop anyway as there are too many variables. Supposedly grass near a property can have more of an impact than trees, due to it's earlier seasonal awakening and large root structures!

I'm guessing that the down pipe feeds into a soakaway. The front road drain isn't too far away, but there are no signs of manhole covers indicating a minor drain feeding in. The tree roots could be finding their way into the soakaway. My thought is that by putting in a waterbutt this will have minor impact; there is reduced water to the soakway (and hence tree) for a short period of time, but 280 litres will fill up quickly and it will be back to normal.
The issue isn’t if they will cause damage it that insurance companies use it to up premiums or void cover and more importantly mortgage companies will refuse a loan. Part of a mortgage survey is how close are any trees to the property. If any are close then goodbye mortgage offer.
 
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