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#4712742 - 03/31/18 09:26 PM official tree guidelines?
joaks Offline


Registered: 12/28/10
Posts: 853
Loc: San Diego, CA
Hey guys, I am looking for suggestions involving some rooty ficus trees.

Here is the situation: we purchased our house (technically a free-standing condo) about a year ago. We have a good sized ficus tree in our front year, as does our neighbor (and many of the other houses in the complex). We have had concerns about the tree roots damaging the driveway (appears to already have a crack from roots) and possibly water pipes. While planting today we found roots next to our house which appear to come from the neighbors tree.

We will most likely remove our tree and replace with something with less-aggressive roots this year. We spoke to the neighbors about their tree and offered to split the cost of they want to remove it but they declined.

Our tentative plan is to go to the HOA and get some sort of rule against these trees or somehow aid us preserving our property. I am looking for some sort of official or semi-official document which provides guidelines regarding tree type and placement to support this. Does anyone know of where to look? My google searches have not been helpful so far.

Alternative answer: is there some other way of dealing with this? The only other thing I can think of is to dig a trench and bury some type of barrier to keep the roots away from structures. I think this will be difficult because it would need to be deep and will already have roots in place.
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#4712882 - 04/01/18 03:10 AM Re: official tree guidelines? [Re: joaks]
Saul Offline


Registered: 02/18/15
Posts: 87
Loc: New Mexico
Just wait until your neighbors tree damages something and then sue for negligence. You tried.

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#4712916 - 04/01/18 06:24 AM Re: official tree guidelines? [Re: joaks]
mrsilv04 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 8153
Loc: Illinois
I would start by finding out if any other HOA's or neighborhood associations have banned this tree. That would set a precedent right there. Call the city Public Works department, and ask the city arborist's department for advice. They may ban the tree on city right-of-way, which would help to show that the variety of tree has issues.

As far as the roots... if it were my house, which I built, I'd have the utilities marked (even though I already know where they are).

Then, I'd rent a walk-behind stump grinder, and grind a channel with the stump grinder as deep as it will go, about a foot on your side of the property line.




That should slow the roots from the neighbor's tree down.
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#4712930 - 04/01/18 06:53 AM Re: official tree guidelines? [Re: joaks]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18249
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
We had a willow tree cause all sorts of damage, this sound like the same thing or even worse. They had to kill the stump or it keeps going.

http://www.legal-news-california.tozerlaw.com/tree_law_california.html
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#4712992 - 04/01/18 07:51 AM Re: official tree guidelines? [Re: joaks]
SOHCman Offline


Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 1281
Loc: USA
I would think you could get much deeper with a ditch-witch than a stump grinder. If it's on your side of the property line you can cut off roots, branches, etc.
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#4713114 - 04/01/18 09:39 AM Re: official tree guidelines? [Re: joaks]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6162
Loc: MI
joaks, I Googled "ficus tree legalities in California" and came up with a few good hits. This following article is 10 years old and much has probably changed, but it portrays a very loose interpretation of vague laws (the term "reasonable" used is very vague): http://www.yourlegalcorner.com/articles.asp?id=78&%3Bcat=estate

I think that your only course of action is to contact local arborists, city forester, lawyers,etc. and determine what applies to your jurisdiction.

The more difficult problem will be trying to resolve the problem without creating a bitter enemy in your neighbor.

Good luck.

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#4713119 - 04/01/18 09:44 AM Re: official tree guidelines? [Re: joaks]
4WD Offline


Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 6019
Loc: Texas/International
Oak trees are known for that always hear the garden line guys recommend companies that deep cut roots and install barriers near foundations and driveways
I love trees and would do it if I had the need
Better than paying a lawyer IMO
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