nunforuever
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BAD tree

Hi everyone, I am new to this forum thing so bear with me. I just bought a new home and noticed that there is a seedling from a tree in between two (2) 6 foot high brick walls at the back of our property. The problem is the tree is about 15 feet tall but being that there is only about 18 inches between the walls I have no way to get in there to cut it down to the roots or anything else for that matter. Im afraid that soon the tree will be tall enough to damage my wall or even eventually push it over. I need to do something now to fix this BAD tree. Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks Greg

opabinia51
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Welcome to the site. We had a post similar to this one a few years ago.

Well, you can start buy cutting all the branches off the tree and subsequently lop off parts of the trunk if you can find room.

Another option would be to drill a hole in the side of the tree and fill it with cotton batton that has been thoroughly soaked in vinegar and a bit of bleach and then tap the hole up.

Still yet another option (and probably a bit more environmentally friendly than the last) would be to cover the area around the tree drip line with a high nitrogen manure like chicken or sheep and burn the roots of the plant.

Any other ideas?

Oh and you might want to repost this questions in the trees and shrubs forum where experts will address your question.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

nunforuever
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BAD tree

All of that is fantastic advice but..... there is no way to get to the bottom of the tree AT ALL. Were talking 14 to 18 inches and no access from either end of the two walls, no way to work. I can lop off the branches at the top of the wall, or at least as far down as i can reach.... Anything non toxic i can pour on the trunk and lower branches at least to STOP IT from growing?? Thanks for the advice, I will post in other forum also. Thank u for the quick response... forums, what a great idea!! Greg

The Helpful Gardener
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There are no bad trees, just bad planting sites... and if this happened once it will happen again (and again). Eliminate the bad landscaping (back to back walls) rather than the tree...

HG
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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, I was trying to imagine why anyone would build two 6' brick walls 18" apart. Very strange. Agree with HG, that even if you can figure out how to eliminate this tree, other things will grow in there (and all kinds of things could be living in there that you wouldn't want to know about). If the manure does burn the tree enough to kill it (would that really work opabinia ?) still it will eventually break down and become very fertile ground for other things to grow in.

As far as non toxic things to pour on the tree, vinegar is relatively non toxic. Boiling water works on weeds. Depends on how well developed and thick barked your seedling tree is whether it would be killed that way; you might have to be persistent. If you have a torch you might be able to burn it out. But again, you are likely to have this as a recurrent issue (lots of seeds are windborne). If there's a way to get rid of one of the walls, it sounds like a better long term solution.

Welcome to the forum!

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applestar
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Wouldn't it work to cut the tree at the top of the wall, then immediately paint the cut surface with something? Also, we're always told not to bury the roots of the trees near the trunk when building a raised bed around a tree, so it seems to me that the inverse -- burying the tree's trunk area would help kill it (much like Opa said with the manure, etc.)

I bet gixxerific will have the expert opinion on this, but it seems to me that mortering a course of cap stone/brick -- oh wait it's EIGHTEEN inches apart? -- well, I'm guessing you could still put something like flagstones across, but I'd better just shut up and wait for the experts. :oops: (Can you just fill the space with gravel? or is that a lot? and would the pressure topple the two walls over?)

opabinia51
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Good topic! I'm glad we have a good discussion going here. :D
Feed the soil, not the plants.

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gixxerific
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A pic would be nice. But as said above why are there 2 wall back to back without a top? That is just crazy. I been in the bricklayer for 15 years and have seen crazy stuff but this one is new to me. :P

Are the 2 separate walls just a single brick meaning 4 inches deep.? That is in it's own right wrong and not very structural. The way I see it there are 3 options.

1. If the walls are at least 8 inches thick a peice tear one down, that would make a big mess and is probably not something you want to do. Maybe one of the walls is on someone else property hard to tell with seeing it. Even so you could tear on wall down and still have the other. But the back side of the other wall is most like not finished (we call it striking when finishing a wall) so that would be an ugly wall to look at.

2. Do what the others have said and try to kill it by cutting it down as far as possible and smothering and whatever to kill the tree. That way, as also stated, is a hope for the best kind of thing. You know it will happen again.

3. Without seeing it, and what I believe would be the best option would be to do option 2 cut it back do what you can to hinder more growth than cap the walls with some kind of masonry. I'm sure you could find a bricklayer that would be happy to do it for you, or you could try it yourself. You can get 20 in. wall stones that would give you an inch projection on either side. That would look very good in my opinion that is what should have been done in the first place. Of course that will cost money. There are many options for capping the wall, it could get costly, come of the custom caps are not cheap but you can find something that might suit your taste that might not be super expensive.

If you lived closer I would be more than happy to do something like this for you and it would be bad ass.

Any other ?,s and I will be happy to answer them for you, good luck.

:D

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gixxerific
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Here is an idea, these are just 2 inch limestone caps they are fairly cheap not real fancy but would do the job.
[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC00088.jpg[/img]

These hearth tops are another idea they are normally 20 inches because that is code for fireplaces they are more fancy but also more expensive.

[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC01438.jpg[/img]

If you wanted to go all you could do something like what is on top os this pergola, but that would be pretty expensive. Just some ideas.

[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC00966.jpg[/img]

You could do flagstone or brick but that would be tricky. I could do it but that involves some fancy footwork since there is nothing in between to hold the masonry. It is possible but stone caps would be a lot easier.

aqh88
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Option 3 was kind of what I was thinking. If the walls really are only 18" apart and the gap in between is nothing but useless space you can't get to anyway then why not just fill it in. Dump something down there and you'll bury the tree which will likely die with that much trunk buried and the top cut off. Then if you want you can top it with something that looks better than whatever cheap filler you use to kill everything growing between the walls.

JONA878
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If you can't get at the trees base then it will have to killed from the lowest point that you can reach to.
It would be no good filliing the gap with anything until the tree has passed on to pastures new. It's remarkable how tough some plants are and a tree say like a willow will happily crack concrete on its way to freedom if there is a smidgin of light to encourage its path.
It would help it on its way if after cutting the trunk down as low as possable it was painted with a concentrated brushwood killer aided by the addition of a wetter or sticker.
Brushwood killer mixed with a little diesel and trickled down the trunk would penetrate the trees roots easily too.

Jona
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Hardly a green solution to the matter Jona. Diesel in the water table= PCBs=carcinogen. All because of some bad landscaping? Burying the root profile would kill it, but that means ALL the roots and some of them are sticking out beyond the wall(s) at this point, so simply dumping stuff in there is futile. Painting on brush killer wouls eventually work, but then the metabolites of glyphosate would be released into the soil and water (and we are just finding out how unhealthy and long term THOSE are). Simply cutting off the top will spur adventitious budding and suckering; you could stay after it for years and eventually get there. But girdling the invader seems the best green way to do this. The roots continue to send nutrition to the top, bypassing the chemical message that says "We lost all the solar panels!" (leaves), but they cannot reciprocate and send food storage to the roots, and eventually the tree dies without incident. I have done this at the MIL's with locust (Robinia), a tree famous for succkering if simply cut down, and it works nicely... I like a linoleum knife I use almost exclusively for this purpose, but any sharp blade will do. You must cut a wide enough strip that it cannot regrow, but leave the xylem, or sapwood, (mostly) intact. Perhaps[url=https://www.uic.edu/classes/bios/bios100/lectf03am/treetrunk.jpg]this[/url]will help

I still think correcting the inherent issue (bad landscape feature) makes far more sense...assuming the other wall belongs to somebody else, how do we cap it without negotiations? What if they say no? And if there is a wall there already, why do we need two? Add another two feet to your property and take out the wall...

HG
Scott Reil

JONA878
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I know Scott....I know...not a particularly green solution.
However, I would let a builder have a close look at the wall before starting to remove it.
Has it got a double footing or were they built as two seperate times.
Once the one wall is down does the root system extend under the others footing as well.
If the footings of one wall are removed what is the stability of the other one....at 6ft tall thats quite a weight of brickwork standing there.

Should be good fun though. Hope that Nunforuever keeps us informed.
I would also suggest that he gets the tree identified.
Jona
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And if they ARE two walls on two different footings (my assumption, as building walls that close HAS to be the work of two contractors on two different properties, otherwise :? :? :? ) then capping them together would add roughly equal weight to two different footings, and what are the odds of them settling at the same rate? About nil in my book, so we jeapordize both walls, right? Gixx, are you following me on this? I'm no mason but I've worked with 'em... I can't see that working out right long term...

I.D.ing the tree is a great idea Jonas; t'would let us now what we are dealing with...

HG
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gixxerific
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Scott, first off I have never seen anything like this. I would have to assume that they share the same footing. Even if they didn't the footings should be around 12 inches wide (around here the frost level is 32" deep) for each. Not knowing anything about this project it is all speculation. But, again, assuming this has been like this for years I imagine the settling has reached it's max, at least enough for it not to settle enough to cause problems if they were separate footings. Though you throw the trees roots into the mix and that changes the whole algorithm altogether.

Think about it if there was a wall there already why would someone waste time and money to build another wall 18 inches away from it. That would be like i said a waste of time, money and space. NO mason in their right mind would ever build a 6 foot high 4 inch wall in the first place. :? It would be structurally unsound thus very dangerous.

Something is missing here! Like nunforuever. I'm beating myself up thinking about this. :wink: :)

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Likenwise, I'm sure... :lol:

Guess we'll see...

S
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