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What lengths will Silver Maple roots go?

WildRoots

WildRoots

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Can roots from a Silver Maple grow down the length of a 9 foot foundation wall, under the footing, and cause settling to a basement floor?

Over the past several years I've noticed the floor of my basement was showing an increasing number of cracks. I noticed also the fireplace (which has its footing in the middle of the basement) has been settling over this time. The poured concrete walls show no signs of cracking or settling, at least as far as I can tell. I've checked both sewage/water lines for leaks and none found. There is a mature Silver Maple located 33 feet from the foundation that was planted when the home was built in 1983. Near the tree, the depth of the basement floor from ground level is approximately 9 foot.

I thought Silver Maple had relatively shallow roots, 30 or so inches. The surface roots are exposed all around the tree so much that a mower can no longer be used in the area.

Thanks for your insight.
 
buzz sawyer

buzz sawyer

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Can't say for sure but I've heard that there are s many roots as there are branches and they always look for water. I had roots growing into a sewer in a ground floor bathroom that was about 12' from the outside and only grass was outside. The roots had to grow under or through the footer or block wall. There were no cracks in the floor.
 
WildRoots

WildRoots

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I've seen the kind of root damage that you described. But in those cases the roots and damage were within two foot of the ground surface. Your probably right - roots will grow in search for water and nutrients wherever it can be found. I am just really surprised they could grow 9 foot below the surface and under the foundation footing.
 
Woodanhor

Woodanhor

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Not saying its not possible for the roots to grow that far but to me settling is more of a dirt or foundation issue
If any organic material or stumps were left when house was built they will decompose and settle

Any live roots I've seen under walkways always bulge the walk or driveway
 
WildRoots

WildRoots

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Thanks for the suggestion. Raised sidewalks, driveways, curbs, and such are primarily what I associate with root causing damage too. I have not considered organic material from original construction decomposing. There is one area in the middle of the basement floor that is noticeably raised. I guess that could be from portions of the floor dropping due organic stuff decomposing in some areas and not in others, or, something heaving it up. Not sure how I would go about determining if something under the floor was decomposing short of breaking up part of the floor and having a look. If there is something decomposing under the floor, it seems there is little that could be done except wait it out, then re-level the floor. To try and find the cause short of breaking up the floor to check it out or cutting down the tree, I was considering cutting a 30 inch deep trench about five or six feet from the house foundation to placing a root barrier. If roots are the cause, that should show immediate results. If not,....?
 
Woodanhor

Woodanhor

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Not 100% on the trench idea I dont think in my opinion its a root issue maybe someone else has experienced it

As far as your floor if it wasn't properly compacted before the cement floor was poured it could settle

It might not be bad enough to worry about

Also my concerns might be different if you're in sinkhole country or dealing with a wet basement or water issues that could be a whole nother can of worms :dizzy:
 
Woodanhor

Woodanhor

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Thanks for the suggestion. Raised sidewalks, driveways, curbs, and such are primarily what I associate with root causing damage too. I have not considered organic material from original construction decomposing
Stumps and dead roots decompose cause settling too I see it in lawns often
 
WildRoots

WildRoots

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The soil is relatively stable in this area - a lot of clay and rock. Perhaps it is just the soil settling from not having been compacted before it was poured and I should give a bit more time to wait-and-see. It does make me wonder why it began settling recently after being poured 37 years ago.
 
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