Roots where I am digging

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  #1  
Old 08-26-02, 08:53 PM
jrstark
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Question Roots where I am digging

I am digging out an area to put in a brick patio with gravel and sand layers beneath the pavers. It's about 4-5 feet wide.

About 3 inches down I come across a root growing horizontally. It is about 1/2 inch across, big enough to stop the shovel. Might be two or three roots actually.

Right now I am still about 4-5 feet away from a large lilac bush, but haven't gotten as close to it as I need to.

I've already cut through the root closer to where it went under the sidewalk. (Thinner there.)

There is also a crabapple tree to the side and the stump of a weed tree to an angle, but the roots look like they are coming from the lilac. It's a big old bush, maybe 8-10 feet tall.

Can I just cut the root out or will I kill the bush?
 
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  #2  
Old 08-27-02, 12:59 PM
howiek's Avatar
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Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
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Hello jrstark and Welcome to DoItYourself.com

My experience has been that lilacs are pretty resiliant and as long as you don't 'root prune' too severely (more than about 30% of the total root mass), cutting a few 1/2" roots shouldn't hurt the plant. (...that said, this will be the one time it doesn't hold true )

Hope this helps

Howie
 
  #3  
Old 08-27-02, 02:34 PM
jrstark
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Thanks Howie! Someone else on another forum said that just covering over where roots are can kill a lilac, or at least the part of the tree dependent on those roots. I was originallly going to go within about 3 feet of the base, but now am thinking of about 4 feet.

I also have about 2 more feet to dig out lengthwise, which will put me within 3 feet of a crabapple (but outside the drip line). Is this too close?

Janine
 
  #4  
Old 08-27-02, 06:36 PM
howiek's Avatar
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Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
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Hello again Janine

Like I said before, that is only my experience with lilacs - I've found them to be pretty bullet proof and able to withstand a lot of abuse, but Murphy's Law is always in play - if you don't want it to grow, it thrives; if you cherish it, you'll likely have a hard time getting it to grow...

Not sure about Crabapples - although the feeder roots extend a third again past the radius of the drip-line for many surface feeders; generally if you are outside the dripline, you might set the tree back a bit, but shouldn't do permanent damage (again keeping in mind the 30% rootmass rule)

Hopefully someone else on this forum can correct me if I'm misleading you (about both the lilac and the crabapple)

Howie
 
  #5  
Old 08-27-02, 07:58 PM
jrstark
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Dug out some more today. There's basically one strip (down the center of the to-be-patio of course) with about 3 roots left to go. Almost done with the crabapple side and only found one small root so far. Other than that I just need to even up the bottom and double-check my measurements.

Did find one smaller lilac root running along the foundation, there may be a few others mixed in with the bigger ones. But I don't think it's anywhere near 30% of the total.

So fingers crossed. Thanks!

Janine

PS - Anyone need any morning glories?
 
  #6  
Old 08-27-02, 08:25 PM
Gami
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Hi Janine,

Thanks for the offer for the morning glories! I take it you're having a problem with them.

Would you like some bindweed?

Good luck with your problem.

Gami
 
  #7  
Old 08-27-02, 08:33 PM
jrstark
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They're growning like crazy, but the main problem is I feel guilty digging them up. I mean, I like morning glories!

And this year we have some different colors coming up. Lots of pink, one vine of pale blue, and today I found a dark lavender.

I'm trying to talk the neighbors into taking some ;-)

Janine
 
  #8  
Old 09-06-02, 05:52 PM
ct. arborist
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you should have no problem with your lilac,we dig 100's of 10 ft. lilacs from our fields every year and the root ball on a lilac that size is typically 2 1/2 ft in diameter which means the edge of the root ball is only 1-1 1/2 ft. from the trunk,as far as the crabapple goes a good rule of thumb is to take a piece of string and wrap it around the trunk of the tree at ground level to measure the circumference of the trunk then add 1/3 of that distance,in other words if your trees circumference is 9 in. then add 1/3 of 9 (3).
9+3=12 so you should be able to safely disturb this trees root system 12 inches from the trunk. we use this rule of thumb for digging everything from 3 inch cal. trees to monster 12-14 inch cal. trees sometimes reaching 30-35 ft. tall
hope this helps,good luck with the patio,
ct. arborist,ron r.
 
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