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    crocker7's Avatar
    crocker7 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jun 7, 2004, 07:57 AM
    Maple tree roots.
    Hi -

    I purchased a 1922 Colonial on Long Island and in the front yard, about 20 feet from the house, is a grand old maple tree. It is between the sidewalk and the curb and is tearing up part of my sidewalk and curb. I really don't want to take the tree down and I'd rather have a contractor come in , cut through those roots, and relay the sidewalk and curb. How deep do Maple tree roots grow? Will this weaken the tree during high winds and cause this old tree to blow over? (I also have digital pictures which tell the story better, if that would help)

    Thanks, Crocker7
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Jun 7, 2004, 08:46 AM
    Re: Maple tree roots.
    You can cut away a certain amount of roots and the tree will just grow more. Just how much is hard to say. I am not sure I would take the chance since the sidewalk must be close to the base of the tree and it would mean a major cutting job. You might look at options such as replacing the concrete with asphalt or brick than can give with the growth of the tree. Could you put in a short raised boardwalk? Perhaps even reroute the side walk. I have seen them arcing around the tree. Unfortunately, you may need to work with short sighted city officials on a front sidewalk. They are too quick to take the easy way out and cut the tree down. The federal government seems to have an urban clear cut policy. Stand up for your tree.

    The tree has an economic value. I am sure the price you paid for the house reflected it, and when time comes to sell, you can sell for more if you have accommodated the tree. If it shades the house in the summer, it can reduce air conditioning bills or even avoid having air conditioning. Better to put the money into replacing the sidewalk a few times than air conditioning. Removing the tree won't be cheap either.

    Nothing adds to the character of an older house like mature trees. They just don't look right in the sun with a little sapling out front.

    If you want, you can email the pictures to [email protected].
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Jun 7, 2004, 12:00 PM
    Re: Maple tree roots.
    The pictures do give me a clearer understanding of the problem. Is the tree a silver maple? They are not the prize a hard maple tree would be. My daughter is buying a house with 2 of them in the front yard, and I have suggested removing them. The silver maples are fast growing, and some people love the lighter colored under side of the leaves. Unfortunately you have problems with wind damage on the large ones. I would not go to elaborate lengths to save one.

    That heaved slab in the second picture is a hazard and nuisance. One cheap, temporary solution would be to grind it down. They make machines that will grind down cement. You can even rent them. You could grind it down level with the other one and back about a foot leaving a fairly level walk. If it heaves more in a few years, grind it down again.

    It looks like the tree will eventually push the curb out into the street. Perhaps you could just cut part of the curb away. Nobody is going to run up into your yard for lack of a curb in front of the tree.

    If you do remove the tree, and the city replaces it, try to get something other than a silver maple, a Norway maple, oak, disease resistant elm, etc.
    crocker7's Avatar
    crocker7 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jun 7, 2004, 01:26 PM
    Re: Maple tree roots.
    Thanks for the info. In between my message with the pics and your reply I happened to get a follow-up call from a landscape architect I had contacted last week. He recommended I get pricing from someone to take the tree down and pretty much confirmed all the things you said. Here on Long Island, to take that down, will cost around $1250. Ugh!! Oh well, it's all part of getting curb appeal.

    Thanks so much!!

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