what happens after cutting a tree down?

21 May 2012
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United Kingdom
a neighbour is looking to have some conifer trees removed, they are quite big and I was wondering, what happens to the roots left in the ground?

Should I be concerned that they may shrink, and result in the ground near my foundations potentially becoming unstable?

Closest tree is about 8 meters away, and about 30-40 feet tall!!

thanks . . . harlingtonstraker
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You will be ok. The roots don't expand much more than the diameter of the conifer.
It's not what happens to the roots that you need to be concerned about. It's what happens to the ground itself. What kind of soil are you on?
yes it is the ground I am concerned about . . . I have no idea what the ground is, mainly grass up to the house, but whats under it I dont know . . .
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I have just had a couple of trees out because they were becoming far too large for the size of garden. Hight and distance is very similar to your situation.

I think rule of thumb is the roots reach out the same amount as the hight of the tree, so in your case they could be very near to your property. Better to have them out before they get any higher I would have thought.
Conifers as a rule are fairly shallow rooted.

As I understand it the only worry is not the roots shrinking, but the ground that was being dried out by the tree taking in water becoming wetter and causing heave where the soil expands. We have quite large cracks in the soil around the stump (which is to be ground out shortly) hopefully these cracks will fill in and being a fair way from the house we will just get a small rise in the garden level around the old tree site.

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