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W. Sorgen
W. Sorgen, ISA Ceritified Arborist
Category: Landscaping
Satisfied Customers: 177
Experience:  Bachelor's degree in forestry, and owner of a residential/commercial tree service.
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This tree is in the foothills of the San Bernardino

Customer Question

This tree is in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in SoCal. I've owned this house for about ten years, and wasn't paying attention. It's looking like the tree is too big and shouldn't be where it is.It's been hack/pruned by would-be arborists, and isn't a species I'm especially fond of. ( I don't know what it is. Of the trees I know, it most resembles a "Chinese Elm" (Ulmus parvifolia). It did once break the fall of a strange little dog who ran across an upstairs bedroom and sailed out of a non-standard window with too low a sill. So there's that. But other than that, I'd just as soon plant a climbing rose in that spot.Conditions: The soil is loose to the point of being sandy. That is, it drains well and supports citrus and avocados.
It once got down to 29F one night in winter. That was freakish. The average low in Dec and Jan is 42. The average high in July and August is 85. The average rainfall is "ha ha ha, very funny."What's involved in attempting to re-locate tree that size and age? (There's plenty of space on the property for it.)What's involved in getting it out of there without concern for its survival in a new location?I haven't had the foundation check. Assuming it's intact, if I hard it pruned hard every year, would it keep the roots from growing to the point of posing foundation problems?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Landscaping
Expert:  W. Sorgen replied 9 months ago.
It's difficult to ID the species from that far-away photo, but it does have the growth habit and alternating leaf pattern of a Chinese elm. If the bark is mottled orange and grey, that would be a dead give away. If it's just grey, it's more likely a zelkova.
Expert:  W. Sorgen replied 9 months ago.
To move/transplant a tree that size, you would need either a tree spade, or a crane, or an excavator. It looks to me like you don't have room for any heavy equipment to adequately access the tree, let alone get a proper root ball out of that space. You cannot transplant that tree.
Expert:  W. Sorgen replied 9 months ago.
Hard pruning will not stop the trunk and roots from growing every year. You will eventually have problems as the tree's lower structure continues to increase in size. You have a tree in a bad location. As you stated, you have plenty of room elsewhere on the property for a tree. Buy a new a tree and plant it somewhere appropriate.
Expert:  W. Sorgen replied 9 months ago.
As for getting it out of there, it doesn't look all that difficult. If you don't want to do the chainsaw and hauling work yourself, hire a tree service. Have the stump ground out. Shouldn't cost more that a couple hundred dollars all told.

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