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Martin, Electrical Engineer
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 4955
Experience:  Design, construct, fix and grow stuff around and in the home.
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We jave a Japanese ornamental maple that has grown higher

Customer Question

We jave a Japanese ornamental maple that has grown higher than we thought. It is about 1 foot away from garage foundation. Do we need to remove the tree to avoid damage to foundation, or are we OK to just keep above-ground part trimmed?
JA: What kind of climate are you in?
Customer: Pacific NW near Seattle.
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: Yes, but we do hv a lawn-landscape service.
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: Not that I can think of. We lime the tree where it is, as secluding a small Japanese garden.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Phil replied 2 months ago.

Greetings, if you wish to leave the tree in place you should install a tree root barrier... its not a perfect solution because all situations vary but that is the approach generally recommended

Click here please

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks for response. Not in TX. Climate in Seattle very wet. Do we still need tree barrier? It's a maple w root going down.
Expert:  Phil replied 2 months ago.

The tree us very close to the house, it will have some lateral roots as well... without seeing the underground (not possible I know) anything else s a guess.

I would dig down next to the house and cut off any tree roots going under the house and install a tree root barrier 4 feet down and 6 feet to each side of the tree.

With the bulk of the tree roots going down and laterally in other directions that should not kill the tree... if it does, well you had to remove the tree anyway.

Expert:  Martin replied 2 months ago.

Hi. 1 foot is very close for any kind of trees. To be safe i would remove it. Even with a root barrier you still risk soil heaving with time.

Another possibility is to prune it to keep it smaller. The whole root ball will stay proportionate to that pruning. In the north, mapple trees are heavilly browsed by deers and they recover nicely in the spring.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for the input, Martin. We wanted a small tree & in 5' we were just going out to prune the hell out of it, anyway. At the risk of tree roots tipping our garage over, we will try the pruning & see what happens.
Expert:  Martin replied 2 months ago.

They don't jack up as much as let say a spruce or damage as much as an oak or an ash tree. If you don't have pre-existing cracks already and keep it at that 5 feet high you should be fine.