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I have a 300 year old oak tree at the bottom of our garden, which is in excellent health. Our neighbour's insurers have applied to have the tree felled, as they have had a report suggesting that the tree has caused the subsidence, as it has dried out the clay soil. A significant number of local residents objected to the application and the local Council have now issued a preliminary TPO and we are now in the 28 day period where further submissions can be made to the Council, before they decide whether to confirm the TPO. The Council tree officer has valued the tree and will have to convince councillors that the tree is of sufficient value for them to confirm the TPO and risk having to contribute to the costs of alternative solutions. The tree officer fully expects the insurers to object to the TPO. This is all new to me, so can anyone help me with the following questions - 1. HEAVE. The neighbour lives in a semi detached house and the occupants of the other half of the house faced the same issue of cracks when they moved in in 2011. Their insurers ended up concluding that the risk of heave (the oldest houses around the tree were built around 1900, so well after the tree was here) meant that they had to find an alternative to felling the tree. They ended up putting in a 2.5m deep root barrier, which appears to have largely dealt with the subsidence problem. There are 4 1900 era houses close to the tree and the one making the claim is the only one having subsidence issues. None of the houses had any foundations when they were built, but many of the houses, including ours, have had extensions since, which have included some proper foundations. The house making the claim has never had an extension and therefore still does not have any foundations. My question is the Council do not seem to be worried about the risk of heave and the insurer’s report simply says “Heave is not a concern”. Indeed the Council say any submissions we make during the consultation period should address the amenity value of the tree and that there is no point in talking about heave. How can this be right when all of use are concerned about the risk of heave? 2. MEASUREMENT OF MOVEMENT. The monitoring report shows that the largest movement in cracks was 8m, measured between February and August 2020. Is measuring just between a very wet February and a very dry August considered best practice? 3. DRAINAGE INVESTIGATION. The drainage investigation performed seems to have identified some damage to pipework that needs to be repaired. However, the acoustic test to the water main suggested that there weren’t all leaks to that. How is it possible to establish whether any of the leaks involved might be encouraged the root growth from the oak and thereby contributing significantly to the problem? Many thanks in anticipation! Mark
Hello I’m new here, and thanks in advance I live in WSuffolk, it’s clay, we’re atop a hill, if that’s relevant. 2 story House, walls go down 1m deep, below which is concrete in trench. (We needed soil taken away after an oil spill elsewhere, so I saw this) No sign of subsidence. Previously the whole estate was a pig farm. Maybe the odd shelter here and there, maybe some shelter trees. It wasn’t woodland. It’s been standing about 22 yrs, now surrounded by patio, with a lean-to kit built conservatory, which sits on concrete pads, will be demolished within a year or two, it’s in an appalling state! To be replaced by patio I expect. Patio shields soil somewhat, It’s on a bed of mortar blobs and not well pointed. Some water may get through but not all. Prior to that going in 8 yrs ago it was gravel. Next door has an original patio laid as well, and the birch roots are lifting it nearest the tree. Both houses about 5m distant. So we’ve had a request to do something about the tree. The original owners (probably) planted trees down the boundary,( I’m sure they don’t predate the houses,)and closest to the house is a silver birch, and then a Malus, then a palm, each about 2m apart. The birch is now taller than the house. Trunk about 30cm diameter We topped it about 6-8yrs back and it rewarded us with a spurt of growth, and two trunks instead of one! We've had a tree surgeon look at it, and he advises to take it out in one go. We’ve heard about heave and that worries us, but he dismissed the idea. He actually said taking it down gradually would stimulate the roots to grow more. What do you think of that please? We’ve already cut it back once, as I said. We chose him because he did a balanced and attractive job of thinning a neighbour’s young trees, but I don’t know his training. He said he wasn’t insured to give a guaranteed opinion, and to inquire further, and so I’ve found you in my search. Sorry pic is rotated. Don’t know how to fix that! Can you help please? Many thanks
Hi all, I was called to a property to quote for some work which included the request to take this Cherry Plum down in stages due to a garage being built in approx 3 months. The advice to remove the tree in stages had been given by a surveyor I believe. The garage will be roughly this side of the wooden shed seen in the pic. The homeowner told me that the ground is clay. I advised that it is no longer advisable to remove a tree in stages, but was asked the following questions: - Would the recently built extension (nearest the car) be at risk of heave if the tree was removed in one go? I felt that the risk was very small, but that it also depends on the foundations and that there is no definite answer. - Would it be best to remove completely before the garage is built? - Should there be a period of time allowed to pass between felling and building? - Is it best to leave the tree in and build? I would think that it would be best to remove the tree first (though it is no sizeable monster), and allow the ground time to adjust to the tree not being there before building the garage- how long would this take? And in relation to the present extension, expect not to suffer from heave but this cannot be guaranteed of course. Opinions and advice please? Thank you.