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    building next to trees

    Some day we would like to put a garage on our property. Due to the weird layout of our property we are kind of limited to two places to put it, and both are pretty close to some large trees. I want to keep as many of these old trees on our property as I can. How close can I build to a tree without affecting it?

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    Depends on lots of things. The root structure of the tree being a biggie. Some trees have a central tap root that usually grows pretty much straight down. The root structure is almost all downward so it isn't very wide. Others are more shallow rooted and the roots spread out sideways more than down. Their roots can go 30'- 40' ft from the trunk of the tree.

    Then of course, you have t look at what your building. Will your garage slab need footers dug down below a frost line? Or can you go with just a simple slab on grade? The less digging you do, teh less roots get disturbed.

    I'd start by figuring out what kind of trees they are and figure out their root system. That'll give you most of the info you need right there.
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    Agree

    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    Depends on lots of things. The root structure of the tree being a biggie. Some trees have a central tap root that usually grows pretty much straight down. The root structure is almost all downward so it isn't very wide. Others are more shallow rooted and the roots spread out sideways more than down. Their roots can go 30'- 40' ft from the trunk of the tree.

    Then of course, you have t look at what your building. Will your garage slab need footers dug down below a frost line? Or can you go with just a simple slab on grade? The less digging you do, teh less roots get disturbed.

    I'd start by figuring out what kind of trees they are and figure out their root system. That'll give you most of the info you need right there.
    The type of tree certainly matters and it may come down to how much you want a garage and how much you like the trees. One option would be something like a pole building without a perimeter foundation extending below ground. Any roots under the roof will eventually be a problem but it would give trees more time to adjust. A metal building anchored by ground anchors would have minimal impact as would a portable building/garage.

    One other issue is that large trees usually shed limbs. Some trees are worse than others about dropping limbs but all will drop some over time.

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    As already stated, with the right foundation and and a little foresight, you can build pretty close.

    I built my garage within 6' of a mature, >30" diameter at the time, maple tree. The tree is at the gable end of the garage and nearly centered. The season before construction, I did some major pruning on the garage-side of the tree. I needed clearance and I also pruned some limbs that looked like future problems. Pruning early gave the tree some time to recover before I intruded on its root system.

    The garage is on an Alaskan slab on top of 12" of crushed stone over hard pan. Some surface roots were disturbed when removing the top soil, but nothing major. I dump both front and back gutters to the tree-end of the garage and the tree likely receives more water from the gutters than it did before the garage was erected.

    It's been nearly 30 years and the tree is thriving. With the tree being mature when I built, there has been no noticeable change in the root system and there is no sign of intrusion with the foundation. It loses a few small branches on the roof every now and then and the over-abundant leaves in the gutters are a pain in the neck, but I'd build in the same spot if I had to do it over.
    Last edited by OxPath; 12-12-2018 at 06:40 AM.
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    Years ago I would have agreed with others here, today, I'd have to say 60ft.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treefarmer View Post
    The type of tree certainly matters and it may come down to how much you want a garage and how much you like the trees. One option would be something like a pole building without a perimeter foundation extending below ground. Any roots under the roof will eventually be a problem but it would give trees more time to adjust. A metal building anchored by ground anchors would have minimal impact as would a portable building/garage.

    One other issue is that large trees usually shed limbs. Some trees are worse than others about dropping limbs but all will drop some over time.

    Treefarmer
    Not only the shedding of limbs which is real - some trees are just plain old dirty constantly dropping sap and other goodies on the building and any vehicles/equipment outside.

    I agree with Gizmo when he says 60’ is a good rule or thumb. I look at what our power company has for their right of way which is also about 60’. It really isn’t enough for the 80’-100’ trees around here but that is all they can get - a lot of times a lot less than that.

    Also something else to think about as far as the above ground part. When you take some trees out for the building itself you are leaving an open space. Over the coming years the surrounding trees will grow most of their limbs into that open space seeking sunlight and will eventually get heavy on the building side.

    But with all that said I have huge trees within 10’ of both my house and barn - just the way it is around here living in the big woods.
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    I sketched up the property layout. I was thinking the ideal spot would be under the compass up against the neighbors fence facing north. Most of the trees are maples 30'-40' tall. I think a 30' x 20' would be ideal for what we need, and I have been looking at pole buildings too. I would like a cement slab, but if I can get crushed packed down hard enough to roll jacks and engine lifts on it I'll be happy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmo2 View Post
    Years ago I would have agreed with others here, today, I'd have to say 60ft.
    I agree to a point. if the est tree height is now 60' clean an area at least double that to 120.

    I believe you stated these are older trees, these trees more than likely will not last your life time without causing you some trouble. Limbs falling off or tree blowing or falling over do you want that tree to fall on your building when your 75-85 yrs old . A large tree can look healthy on the outside,, ask Gizmo, cut into the tree and the whole inside is rotted.
    I have a few trees behind the house on the property line , they are in reach of hitting the back side of our house. I wanted to cut them this fall didn't happen , if the Good Lord is willing they will be cut come spring.

    SIL is wanting to put in a pole building ,while he cutting the area around where his building will go he's going to cut those that could hit his house .

    Why create a possible issue, but as others the roots can do damage to drain field to your concrete floor. Not only to your new building but to your house. If you have a septic field the roots can really cause issues.

    Just because it is a pole building ,they can still have a concrete floor. My guess would be 95%-100% of pole buildings have a concrete floor after the building is built or seems the new way is to pour your concrete slab and then build a pole structure on top of the concrete,, still a pole building.
    Last edited by etcallhome; 12-12-2018 at 08:04 AM.
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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etcallhome View Post
    I agree to a point. if the est tree height is now 60' clean an area at least double that to 120.

    I believe you stated these are older trees, these trees more than likely will not last your life time without causing you some trouble. Limbs falling off or tree blowing or falling over do you want that tree to fall on your building when your 75-85 yrs old . A large tree can look healthy on the outside,, ask Gizmo, cut into the tree and the whole inside is rotted.
    I have a few trees behind the house on the property line , they are in reach of hitting the back side of our house. I wanted to cut them this fall didn't happen , if the Good Lord is willing they will be cut come spring.

    SIL is wanting to put in a pole building ,while he cutting the area around where his building will go he's going to cut those that could hit his house .

    Why create a possible issue, but as others the roots can do damage to drain field to your concrete floor. Not only to your new building but to your house. If you have a septic field the roots can really cause issues.
    I forgot about that.
    Good post BTW.
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    Those are huge old trees. I would avoid them altogether.

    Being I live in the woods I pictured like what I have which are humdreds of trees just on my 6 acres. You only have a couple to deal with - build where they aren’t or remove what you have to. Old trees like that will start giving you problems in short order anyway.
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