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Root growing under my concrete garage floor and foundation

Druid

Druid

New Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
3
Age
34
Location
California
I need help identifying which tree this root belongs to!

My concrete garage floor was cracked and lifted about 1.5" above the driveway causing a tripping hazard and prevented my garage from closing flush which allowed water to travel in during the rain. I was speculating what it was for months whether or not it was roots. I live in a neighborhood with 100 ft pine trees, one outside each home. My pine tree is at a 1 o'clock angle from my driveway facing the street 30 feet away so it should have made a crack through my concrete driveway first before reaching my garage, however my driveway was fine although only lifted slightly.

I finally sought concrete workers to break it open and it turns there's a massive root running parallel to my driveway/garage concrete seam which explains why it only cracked my garage floor. At the angle it's coming from it appears it could be from my neighbor's pine tree since the root girth is bigger coming from their direction and appears to get slightly smaller going the other, however, it's about 50 feet away from my garage so I'm not completely sure.

I also have another tree approx 20 ft tall growing in the corner of my home that's about 36 feet away from the garage. Can someone tell me what species it is (picture attached) and whether it's known to have large invasive roots?

Ultimately, I'm going to remove those that large root coming through my garage, but how do I make sure the root never grows back and re-damages my floor? Is there some sort of root killer product that prevents that? Also, is there any recourse I have against my city if it turns out to be the pine trees on the sidewalks? Which type of professionals can best handle this situation, and would owner insurance cover this problem?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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sean donato

sean donato

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Aug 3, 2014
Messages
241
Location
Eastern, PA
I would call your Insurance company and see if they cover this specific damage. I cant say for sure but I would suspect it should be covered. Good luck trying to get the township to pay for anything. I cant comment with certainty on which tree, but would suspect the one by the corner of your house is the probable culprit. Other then cutting the root out idk what you would use to kill the root that wouldnt harm the tree as well.
 
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CacaoBoy

CacaoBoy

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Mar 14, 2018
Messages
169
Location
Big Island - Hawaii
You may want to talk to an attorney because the law varies from state to state regarding what rights neighbors have regarding invading/encroaching trees. Generally you can trim back a tree that overhangs your property as long as you do not injure the tree. See https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/neighbor-tree-damage-46933.html. But what you propose easily could kill the neighbor's tree. In some states a person is liable if a tree growing on their property causes damage to a neighbor. The damage to your concrete might constitute damage for which the neighbor would be liable, so it is possible that the neighbor's insurance company might pay for the cost of the concrete repairs and actions to prevent a recurrence. See https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/trees-neighbors-faq.html#answer-1743463.

If the root is from the tree on your property, which appears possible, then you should be free to do whatever is needed to deal with the problem which might include removal of the tree and replacement with something better suited for growing in proximity to the house. Unless, that is, you are subject to homeowner association rules that limit removal of large trees.

Responsibility and liability of the city for trees along the street also will vary from place to place. Assuming the city own the trees it probably has no responsibility for cosmetic damage to the sidewalk, but if its trees cause an unreasonable trip hazard to pedestrians and the city is aware or should be aware of the hazard and if a pedestrian trips and is injured despite taking reasonable care while walking on the sidewalk, then the city might be liable for the injury. If you notify the city of the hazardous condition (although from the photo it is not apparent that there currently is a condition that actually creates an unreasonable risk of injury) you could get a sense of the city's reaction. But this is another question to raise with an attorney.
 
derwoodii

derwoodii

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Victoria Australia
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My desk top analysis tells me that ropey root that did the damage is from the tree on corner of your home.

You can cut out this root and/or can dig further away finding its origin to better control.. Not many chemical treatment will control root with out harming host tree apart from root barrier install

If wish as your tree has proved to be a rouge remove it.

The trees appear different species so often you can tell by feel smell or bark & wood fibure texture if its origin is hard to determine.

perhaps to be more sure inform the city of the issue they should attend & advise you (this should be free) and help guide your decision.
 
Druid

Druid

New Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
3
Age
34
Location
California
You may want to talk to an attorney because the law varies from state to state regarding what rights neighbors have regarding invading/encroaching trees. Generally you can trim back a tree that overhangs your property as long as you do not injure the tree. See https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/neighbor-tree-damage-46933.html. But what you propose easily could kill the neighbor's tree. In some states a person is liable if a tree growing on their property causes damage to a neighbor. The damage to your concrete might constitute damage for which the neighbor would be liable, so it is possible that the neighbor's insurance company might pay for the cost of the concrete repairs and actions to prevent a recurrence. See https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/trees-neighbors-faq.html#answer-1743463.

If the root is from the tree on your property, which appears possible, then you should be free to do whatever is needed to deal with the problem which might include removal of the tree and replacement with something better suited for growing in proximity to the house. Unless, that is, you are subject to homeowner association rules that limit removal of large trees.

Responsibility and liability of the city for trees along the street also will vary from place to place. Assuming the city own the trees it probably has no responsibility for cosmetic damage to the sidewalk, but if its trees cause an unreasonable trip hazard to pedestrians and the city is aware or should be aware of the hazard and if a pedestrian trips and is injured despite taking reasonable care while walking on the sidewalk, then the city might be liable for the injury. If you notify the city of the hazardous condition (although from the photo it is not apparent that there currently is a condition that actually creates an unreasonable risk of injury) you could get a sense of the city's reaction. But this is another question to raise with an attorney.
Thank you for the advice. I have the city arborist coming tomorrow, and insurance adjuster the following day to inspect. Hoping for the best.
 
Druid

Druid

New Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
3
Age
34
Location
California
My desk top analysis tells me that ropey root that did the damage is from the tree on corner of your home.

You can cut out this root and/or can dig further away finding its origin to better control.. Not many chemical treatment will control root with out harming host tree apart from root barrier install

If wish as your tree has proved to be a rouge remove it.

The trees appear different species so often you can tell by feel smell or bark & wood fibure texture if its origin is hard to determine.

perhaps to be more sure inform the city of the issue they should attend & advise you (this should be free) and help guide your decision.
Thanks, my city arborist coming to inspect tomorrow. I'm hoping he/she will be unbiased when determining the tree, whether it's from the city or my property's. I have no knowledge in identifying and matching the roots to trees so I would have to take the arborist's word. If it does turn out to be my property tree I will have it removed. Once removed, would it's leftover roots underground eventually shrink and shrivel overtime? I do see more of the same roots running under my driveway which lifted it slightly so I'm hoping it will go back down overtime. I don't want to break into my driveway due to the additional cost.
 
derwoodii

derwoodii

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Mar 20, 2009
Messages
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Location
Victoria Australia
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in my experience concrete heaved / displaced by roots seldom settles back down.. It be nice to think decay root would allow this but the movement appears to be one way.

Your city tree chap should be fair and unfavored and if feel otherwise you should be able to ask second objective opinion
 
buzz sawyer

buzz sawyer

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Western border of mid-southern northern WV
I would call your Insurance company and see if they cover this specific damage. I cant say for sure but I would suspect it should be covered. Good luck trying to get the township to pay for anything. I cant comment with certainty on which tree, but would suspect the one by the corner of your house is the probable culprit. Other then cutting the root out idk what you would use to kill the root that wouldnt harm the tree as well.
I agree. IMO, I would not want a tree that close to my house. Was the tree already there when the house was built?
Next question: Why would the root take that path? Is there a water source in that area, like a downspout? If you decide to leave the tree there, you might consider making the front area a separate section in the new concrete - just in case it happens again so you won't have to replace as large of a section.
 
AGoodSteward

AGoodSteward

Power Head
Joined
Aug 10, 2016
Messages
1,110
Location
MT
I've seen large surface roots that looked exactly like that, growing on top of weedmat, coming from pine trees. I used to have a 6' chunk of one, but my son gave it to his biology teacher for some extra credit.
 
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