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Old 04-22-2012, 01:57 AM
12 posts, read 122,543 times
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Please see attached picture. I am interested in making an offer for this house. However, there is a medium/large tree right in front of the house, literally within 5 ft of the house. It has been trimmed regularly. Also, there's are many cracks on the concrete pavement in front (not sure which tree it could be from, assuming it's due to the root looking at the pattern of cracks, and it is right next to the tree). I'll appreciate answers to the following:

1. Should I be concerned about its roots affecting the foundation/plumbing/gas pipes etc? Of course I will get an inspection if my offer goes through, but just wanted to get your opinion, especially from someone who might have dealt with a similar situation. How bad might be the situation? (it looks like a large tree) Anyone have an idea what tree it might be?

2. Am I better off cutting it down? If so, how much would it cost? Should I then be worried about the roots rotting? Or if I leave the stump, about roots continuing to grow?

Attached Thumbnails
Big tree - too close to the house?-h.png  
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:18 AM
Location: rain city
2,956 posts, read 11,040,330 times
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I can't tell from your photo what kind of tree this is (sycamore or plane tree?). It makes a difference.

Southern California?

Anyway, the tree is close to the garage, not the house. I suppose the roots could pose a problem at some time, but if I were wanting to buy this house, that tree wouldn't be a problem for me, the only thing in the path of either the tree roots or the canopy is the garage. meh.

It would also depend on the price of the house and how much I loved it. One possibly inconvenient tree is not necessarily a deal breaker.

I am sure someone will come along quickly to tell me what a duncehead I am (because that's how the internet is) but I'm not seeing this tree as any kind of earth shaking problem.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:34 AM
Location: Out there somewhere...
38,673 posts, read 45,016,991 times
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I'd get an independent inspector, especially an arborist to give you the information you're looking for. You need to know where the underground water and sewer lines are. As large as that tree is the roots are out as far as the normal canopy would be before trimming. And roots lifing and cracking cement can be costly. Some of those roots below the surface can be as large as 12 inches or more, which means the soil has had to move that much underground.
To me that tree would be my first concern when considering to buy.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:17 AM
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,090,866 times
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If large branches extend over any part of the roof, or will anytime in the future, then it's too close.

Ideally, you should find a house with more site-appropriate trees for shade.
If anything, I'd ask them to come down on the price simply for the value-less lawn as it adds nothing but a lot of expense in a place like what looks like cali.

The tree in the front next to the power lines looks like it's had improper pruning butcher jobs for years and is it even alive? No leaves yet? Cali? Hmm.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:53 AM
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OP the tree closest to the street appears to be a fruitless mulberry. Hence its gnarled look from the yearly pruning. Does look like it missed a year or two though.

The tree you are concerned with is to far away to identify. However per your question my biggest concerns as pointed out by others would be the concrete driveway and walkway damage that is occuring and will continue.

The second would be the tree falling on the garage and causing severe damage. It is in a place the isnt conducive for a strong root stucture. Soggy ground and strong winds could spell disaster. The roots damaging the foundation of the garage is minor if non existant issue

The rest of the yard looks very nice as well as the grass. If it were me I would consider the cost of removing those two trees in the purchase of the house. Should be fairly easy to remove them due to the front access.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:29 PM
12 posts, read 122,543 times
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to give you a better idea , here is a different view of the tree, and the cracks on the driveway. Thanks to everyone for your input. After seeing this pic, if You guys have a feedback, please let me know. I have to make the offer by tonight
Attached Thumbnails
Big tree - too close to the house?-img_6607.jpg   Big tree - too close to the house?-img_6608.jpg  
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:37 PM
12 posts, read 122,543 times
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and heres a closeup if someone can identify the tree and the amount of damage it can cause
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Big tree - too close to the house?-img_6608.jpg  
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:41 PM
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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It looks like a Southern Magnolia! (Magnolia grandiflora)

Their root systems are massive, and they can be invasive and cause serious damage. I would locate your underground utilities and see how close those are, especially sewer because they can break pipes.

They aren't typically supposed to be pruned up like that, though. They are supposed to have leafy branches all the way down to the ground.

Their branches don't typically break and fall, and I've only seen an entire magnolia tree fall over after a serious wind storm with a long period of rain involved.

It is evergreen, and the large leaves will fall everywhere and CAN clog your gutters fairly seriously.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:58 PM
12 posts, read 122,543 times
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Oh, thanks so much for that info. So is it a good idea to fell it ? will that take care of the situation?
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:07 PM
Location: Mostly in my head
19,631 posts, read 53,468,042 times
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If it is cut, you need to either grind out the stump or use stump killer on it. Both are too close to the house. Most tree roots extend as far as the branches but some extend even further. Around here that size tree will cost around $500 to cut down. Stump could be extra. Make a sewer line inspection with a robot camera part if the inspections, as well as the water and the gas lines if possible. I would get prices on the trees and make them giveyou a allowance.

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