Green Tractor Talk banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,887 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,975 Posts
Agree

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.

Treefarmer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,078 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,484 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
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.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,122 Posts
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.
 

·
Senior GTT Super Slacker
Joined
·
36,093 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,484 Posts
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.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,122 Posts
I forgot about that.
Good post BTW.
20 yrs ago my brothers and I had cut our fire wood, talking 6-10 cords of wood for each of us. We have cut into more trees thinking they were a solid healthy tree and find out it is about ready to fall over.

Just Monday he was telling me of a large 48" across or larger tree was hollow inside. When you see that large of a tree laying on the ground and it has maybe 4-8" of good wood under the bark to the inside. Scares the crap out of you especially when you are cutting it not knowing what direction or when will it fall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
Make sure you check out all of your local codes before deciding on a spot. You mention placing it up against a neighbor's fence, what is the required setback? Do you have any code for your type of zone saying the front of the accessory building has to be x feet behind the front of the home? Are there any restrictions on total footprint of accessory buildings compared to footprint of dwelling?

A lot of places are now using satellite map images when doing property assessments and code compliance, so gone are the days of sneaking in over-sized sheds and garages. Hopefully you are zoned agricultural and not residential.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,389 Posts
20 yrs ago my brothers and I had cut our fire wood, talking 6-10 cords of wood for each of us. We have cut into more trees thinking they were a solid healthy tree and find out it is about ready to fall over.

Just Monday he was telling me of a large 48" across or larger tree was hollow inside. When you see that large of a tree laying on the ground and it has maybe 4-8" of good wood under the bark to the inside. Scares the crap out of you especially when you are cutting it not knowing what direction or when will it fall.
I was a faller in my younger days for a few years and one of the worst things is when you cut into one of these 4' oak trees and it is hollow and full of water. That water goes everywhere and really has quite the fragrance, rivaling the pleasant hang time of a skunk release!:laugh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Make sure you check out all of your local codes before deciding on a spot. You mention placing it up against a neighbor's fence, what is the required setback? Do you have any code for your type of zone saying the front of the accessory building has to be x feet behind the front of the home? Are there any restrictions on total footprint of accessory buildings compared to footprint of dwelling?

A lot of places are now using satellite map images when doing property assessments and code compliance, so gone are the days of sneaking in over-sized sheds and garages. Hopefully you are zoned agricultural and not residential.
Maybe 30-40 years ago I would have gotten away with a lot more, but with all the development in the area in the past 20 years I don't think there is much left that can be zoned agriculture. Our house is one of the few houses left that are original to the area.
I haven't had a chance to check out the city codes yet, but I have plenty of time before I get that far.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
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?
I know how you feel... my property slopes and really has 3 level spots. and surrounded by trees.

About the trees.... If you are truly concerned about the ramifications of building close to trees you need to identify the trees to know about the root balls or root network and the approximate age of the trees. You should call either on an arborist or a local Extension Agent.

Me, personally, I consult with my local Stihl Chainsaw.:lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
530 Posts
Good rule of thumb is to stay out of the tree's drip line.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,665 Posts
Im no expert, but I do live in the woods, and am working on getting the trees away from the house.
Nothing worse than a tree falling on your roof during or after a storm, unless its a Winter storm.
That happened early this year to us. Late Winter/Early Spring, a tree fell, and luckily hit another tree before it hit the house, or we would have been looking at likely rebuilding quite a bit of the addition, instead of just somewhat minor roof repairs, if you consider 2 sheets of OSB, the entire overhang on one half, and a few bundles of shingles minor.
And that tree wasnt all that big.

Trees can and will grow VERY close to structures if you let them. They dont much care how close really, as long as when you are building you dont do major damage, the tree will keep right on growing.
But thats also a problem. They dont stop until they die. They dont care what your structure is made of either, if they get a root in it, they will destroy it.
Right now, as I type this, I have a Sycamore thats a few feet from a deck. That deck has been moving for years. Its now getting dangerously close to the house. Its also lifting up on the side near the tree. None of that is good, or going to get better until that tree is gone.
Come this Spring it will be.
The cleanup from that is going to take a while, as that tree is well over 100' tall, and 3' across at the base if its an inch.
Ill pay someone to drop it, because its leaning towards the garage, but once its down, its all on me to clean up the rest.
Speaking of, I need to call those guys and get them out here to look at that one and a couple others that Im not comfortable dropping.

I guess what Im getting at is that as I get older, the less I want trees near the house. I like the shade, but not the damage. One other thing to consider besides a branch or tree falling on your building, is the damage to roofing from overhanging branches. Moss and mildew can shorten the life of your roof. Leaves fill gutters and need removed.
I wont take down everything that can hit the house, but noting new is going to go up within 75'. Anything remotely unheathly is coming down. Anything less than 10" in diameter is also coming down. I suspect Ill be working on that process for at least a year, as there are a LOT of trees that arent going to be sticking around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,484 Posts
I know all about trees close to the house. This tree was over 100’ tall and measured 54” at the stump. It was 20’ from the house. Had it fallen on the house it would would certainly have crushed it.

2B7A38C5-3B6C-45A9-BCDD-FB3504D5EBD5.jpeg

Life in the woods. I would never be able to remove all the trees within reach of the house.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,508 Posts
Years ago I would have agreed with others here, today, I'd have to say 60ft.
Tree have a way of falling. Never a good time
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top