Garden tree root question

brendy

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I have a eucalyptus tree at the bottom of our garden, has been there longer than the 20 years Ive lived here and has grown quite a bit in that time. The next door neighbour mentioned that there is a single surfaced root running half way up her lawn and would like it removed.
Now, I understand that she can do this herself as its her garden, I also understand that these trees have quite shallow root systems.
My question is this, if I go all neighbourly and assist in severing the one troublesome root, can I then kill it off to make removal easier in a few months time or do I push it all back on the neighbour in case of problems? I've heard you can drill into disconnected roots and inject small amounts of diesel which in turn shrivels up the root fairly quickly but really not sure I want to be adding diesel to her already threadbare lawn.
 

Crow

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Tree "discussions" are best kept friendly, I'd take the easy way out and sever it at the boundary then lift in a years time, making her aware that the lawn is going to be damaged in the process.

On a general note, eucalyptus trees are very fast growing and you're only likely to get further issues with it so I'd consider removing and planting a native tree.
 

backwoodsman

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The following advice is based on a 40 year career of dealing with trees and tree related problems. And has to be tempered by the fact I haven't seen the tree or the root.
1. Severing one major root could affect the tree's health & stability. (Note: that's could, not necessarily,  will ). But probably won't.
2. If she wants it done, then leave it to her. If she wants to do it, you can't stop her. But don't be involved.
3. Once the root is severed from the parent tree, it should die off. And then slowly decay. But this will take a long time. If they want it gone, there's no quick way of speeding it up other than by hard physical work. The cheap but hard way is an axe & a spade. The quick but expensive way is a contractor with a stump grinder. The diesel thing is a myth. (Unless, of course, she wants to try setting it alight ...).
4. Don't get involved.
 

rudebhoy

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The following advice is based on a 40 year career of dealing with trees and tree related problems. And has to be tempered by the fact I haven't seen the tree or the root.
1. Severing one major root could affect the tree's health & stability. (Note: that's could, not necessarily,  will ). But probably won't.
2. If she wants it done, then leave it to her. If she wants to do it, you can't stop her. But don't be involved.
3. Once the root is severed from the parent tree, it should die off. And then slowly decay. But this will take a long time. If they want it gone, there's no quick way of speeding it up other than by hard physical work. The cheap but hard way is an axe & a spade. The quick but expensive way is a contractor with a stump grinder. The diesel thing is a myth. (Unless, of course, she wants to try setting it alight ...).
4. Don't get involved.
I read somewhere that drilling holes into a stump, filling with Epsom salt and covering the stump will dry it out and kill it - is that a myth as well or does it work?
 

backwoodsman

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I read somewhere that drilling holes into a stump, filling with Epsom salt and covering the stump will dry it out and kill it - is that a myth as well or does it work?
You need to remember there's a difference between 'killing a tree' and 'getting rid of a tree'. Many trees aren't killed simply by cutting them down - they will re-sprout from the cut stump and start growing again. Many of our most common trees - Oak, Ash, Sycamore, Hazel for example - do this. (In fact its a forestry technique for generating new woody material - called coppicing). Some other tree species do in fact die off when you fell them. So, if you want a tree gone for good, for many of them, you need to both kill it off, and to physically remove it.

Many common substances are toxic to plants and will kill them. Diesel is toxic, as is Epsom salts, and if applied to a cut stump or other live tissue, they will kill off the live tissue. So if you want your tree dead, then they work. But it's the decay/rotting process that eventually removes the stump - and this takes a long time. These chemicals don't help speed up the decay process as they will also kill off the naturally occuring decay organisms. So in that respect, they don't work.

In short, if you want a tree dead, then chemicals work - if you want it gone, then you need to put some work in (unless you're prepared to wait ...).
 
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