Asked on May 01, 2014

Sycamore tree roots lifting our house. Tree is gone, stump ground.. Ho

Tamara Stanley
by Tamara Stanley
Bought the house in 2006 & had piers installed. Noticed the house kept "raising" & had structural engineers say all was fine. I started digging last year & found this tree root lifting our house a good 4-6 inches. We live in Oklahoma, soil is clay & I want the root gone. Anyone I've asked doesn't know what to do with it. (including structural engineers, piering company, friends, family, etc.) Any ideas would be appreciated.
Sycamore tree roots growing between footing & foundation raising our house.
  21 answers
  • Beth Lloyd Beth Lloyd on May 02, 2014
    I am not sure if it would work... several sites suggest removing stumps by drilling holes and filling with epson salt. You could try that and when it has started to deteriate, cut and pull. Good luck!
  • Darla Darla on May 02, 2014
    You could get rid of part of it near the outside by drilling it and putting in the enzymes that people use to get rid of tree stumps. It takes a long time, though.
    • Jeri Niksich Jeri Niksich on May 03, 2014
      @Darla It dose take a long time but the more you do it the quicker it's gone. Yep I done it with a tree stump.
  • Fenya Kashergen Fenya Kashergen on May 02, 2014
    I have tried the Epsom salts trick and it does work. Took about 12 months to disintegrate and I had to replace the salts twice
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on May 02, 2014
    This reminds me of how we all laughed when those "outsiders" who built the casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast planted live oaks within a few feet of them! Live oaks will move any structure within a few years!
    • @Jeanette S Your exactly correct. Way to many people plant large trees to close to the house as they look better when young. What they do not realize is that the root structure of a tree is pretty much the same as the canopy above and in the case of a foundation that prevents the tree roots from growing in that direction, the roots tend to end up in the drainage system under the basement floor.
  • Mag268915 Mag268915 on May 02, 2014
    I have the same problem....Going to try Epsom salt and cutting out the roots
  • Jeri Niksich Jeri Niksich on May 03, 2014
    There is a special (can't think of the name) stump remover that works better & faster than the epsom salt I found mine at Home Depot a little goes a long way.
  • Anna Ibarra Anna Ibarra on May 03, 2014
    I hired a young man to help me do some yard work. I had lots of stumps & had just cut down large trees. He worked in yards and had lots of tricks, but he drilled holes into the stumps, some up to 4 holes, large trunks & he poured diesel fuel. Well these trees never sprouted like others that I use the stump removal stuff. He says in the past he's not only poured diesel fuel but threw a match in. I didn't allow that. 4 Years later, it's worked. Anyway, this is just a suggestion.
  • While the tree may not have effected the foundation, it did mess up the brick ledge that supports the brick face on the house. If you got written letters from these structural engineers saying it was fine, I suggest you contact them back and ask for the money it will take to fix the brick damage. Or at least your money back on their services. What a brick shelf is, is a ledge on the top or side of the main footing of the house. Its only reason for it being there is to support the heavy weight of the brick face. What has occurred is that the tree root system got under and between the brick ledge and the brick façade and as it grew it lifted the bricks up. The repair however is not going to be a very pretty one. If the entire wall lifted, it may have caused the brick ties that hold the brick against the interior framing or the block wall its covering to fail. If this occurs the wall will become unstable and can fail. I suggest that you get a professional brick mason in to suggest methods of proper repair and to assist you on proper repairs. If done wrong additional damage can occur as the root rots and decays away. Do not simply remove the stumps and roots until it is professionally evaluated by someone that understands structural foundations. If removal is done wrong you risk a wall façade failure.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on May 04, 2014
    I had a large holly removed late last year that had been planted next to the house by previous owners. Its limb were brushing the siding. The contractor removed with a forklift. I hope they got it all. We were/are afraid that maybe the roots with regrow. I hope not.
    • See 1 previous
    • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on May 04, 2014
      @Woodbridge Environmental Thank you. You always have such good information.
  • Anna Ibarra Anna Ibarra on May 05, 2014
    Thanks Karon, good to know.
  • Hilary Aulando Hilary Aulando on May 31, 2014
    i have a similar problem with a Wigelia. I dug down 4 feet to remove what I could of the massive tangled root structure, finally pulled it out with a Bobcat. But there must still be pieces of root down there as I keep getting new WIgeia shoots throughout my veg garden and lawn. Arghh! It's so invasive-pretty to look at as long as you don't prune it, but as soon as you make that first cut it responds by sending out an army of roots and shoots. It's as bad as morning glory. Any ideas on how to get rid of it for good? I can't use any toxic chemicals as it is all through the area where I grow my vegetables.
  • Richard Richard on Jul 01, 2014
    Call "RAM JACK. They will fix it and level the whole house. I had it done. Now no cracks in bricks, no doors rubbing. A little expensive but they will fix it.
  • Tina Krenz Tina Krenz on Jul 28, 2014
    I live in Moore, OK, and I just don't get why in the world people would plant trees so close to buildings and homes in the first place. Don't they realize that it would cause structual damage? We just transferred here from Wichita, KS. at the end of 2012, and bought this new house, and they had put this stupid evergreen tree right in front of the flower bed within a few inches of the bricks of the archway entryway. I ended up digging it up, plus all the bushes they had close to the front window as well, and the evergreen bushes that were against the wall of the garage, which would of also cause damage. So stupid.
  • Many people not realizing that tree root structures will grow to about the same size as the canopy of the tree itself. When they plant the trees are often quite small. Over the years as time goes on, these small plantings often end up becoming quite large and during that time the roots are slowly doing damage to the home. Also at folks age and their lifestyles become more busy, small seedlings begin to grow against the foundation. Often resulting into large trees that once looked nice as a small bush. By the time they realize this the damage has been done.
  • Judy Judy on Sep 09, 2014
    It always amazes me how people don't stop to consider the end result before planting trees. Not just the roots but the height & spread of the tree itself. Around here we have a company, contracted to the electric company, that trims tree branches away from power lines & it's incredible how many trees are planted right under power lines. It's so ugly when a big V is cut in the center of a nice shade tree or one side of a Leyland Cypress privacy planting has to be stripped away.
  • Laurie Laurie on Sep 24, 2014
    Take care in removing this. When we removed a tree, the roots died under the basement. This left an air gap in the sand and clay soil. The underground stream changed course to follow the gap and created foundation problems under the basement.
  • Ruth  Nederlk Ruth Nederlk on Sep 26, 2014
    I kept spraying through the stump with weed kill and it does help kill the roots!
  • Dale Hayes Dale Hayes on Oct 15, 2015
    I heard that copper nails will kill a tree. It should do the same for roots. I always bury a bare copper wire with my sewer or drain lines to keep roots away from the lines. This maybe a wives tail but it doesn't cost that much and if it helps that is good.
  • Ruth  Nederlk Ruth Nederlk on Oct 16, 2015
    Don't have a answer about copper wire bu would like to know if it really does work? Have a neighbor with tree root problems going into their septic lines from neighbors hugh tree.
    • See 1 previous
    • Gabrielle Falk Gabrielle Falk on Aug 16, 2016
      Hi Ruth: I know that here in Sydney, and elsewhere I'm sure, if you have old sewer pipes, probably terracotta, and they are cracking either because of age or tree roots, you can get your plumber to put a type of 'liner pipe' down the inside of the cracked pipe/s. They are usually made of a fairly rigid plastic, and saves digging up the old pipes (been there done that). Do you think that the neighbour who is having problems with root invasion, would be able to speak to the person whose tree is making all the damage. Maybe that person doesn't realise the damage his tree is causing because I'm almost 100% sure, that if a neighbour is having this trouble so is the homeowner who has the tree. It's a given. What sort of a tree is it. Because some trees, in many Australian councils, are declared noxious and have to be removed. Might be worth a try with your local authority.
  • Ebo7606611 Ebo7606611 on Aug 16, 2016
    There are agricultural weed and tree killers. Need to find one of those. Also contact a cesspool company, they can recommend tree root killers maybe.
  • Linda Zinn Wonsil Linda Zinn Wonsil on Mar 26, 2017

    Drill holes in stump put salt in holes. Also drive a number of iron nails (big ones) into stump. Any live tree left will be killed. Salt will cause tree stump to decay and rot away.