Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Uninvited Tree

     The flyer, bearing the logos of our public-trust gas-and-water utility and "Keep Indianapolis Beautiful" chirps excitedly, "TREES COMING! A tree may be planted in the right-of-way near your home..."

     In fact, I'm fairly reliably informed that one will be; there's no "if" about it.  I am opposed to this.  We had trees near that area when I moved in, a pine at our neighbor's and some kind of frangible maple in ours.  The roots got into our sewer lines -- segmented clay tile, very vulnerable to root intrusion -- and the maple died in slow stages, finally partially collapsing over the sidewalk, posing a danger to pedestrians and costing me a lot to remove.  Our neighbor had already gotten rid of the pine.  Another maple nearby just fell over in a windstorm!

     The flyer tells me a tree will intercept a lot of rainwater that would otherwise go down the storm drain and I'm all in favor of that, since my basement is still sometimes a way station for rainfall headed for the drain -- but don't stick the thing out where my sewer line runs.  Both city water and city sewer come in from the front.  Roseholme Cottage doesn't have a lot of frontage and all of it is neatly occupied by utilities, each in their own third: sewer, water, streetlight.  There's no space for a tree.

     First thing I will do is ask them to please take their tree elsewhere.  After that?  I don't know.  I haven't got much of a green thumb and I'm certainly not going to expend any effort on the city's tree.  If it's an invasive species, I'll be on firm legal ground to have it removed.  (Also, if it's their right-of-way, how come I'm expected to mow it?  How skillfully am I required to do the job?)

     The grounds of Roseholme have a plumbing-free back yard where a new tree would be welcome, especially since I'm going to have to take down at least one of the old ones.  There's exactly no chance they'd take that deal. 

     When the plumbers dig up my front yard to replace the drain line this tree will be going after, it's not going to beautify the city any.  I've seen the aftermath of that.  It looks like a WW I battlefield.


Rick T said...

A quick midnight girdling will take care of the invader post-haste...

B said...

Just sayin'

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

No more maples, gah!

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I'd rather have a grass killing car denting walnut than a sewer-seeking silver maple again.

John in Philly said...

Trees keep growing, and require shaping and maintaining.
We are dealing with the problems of forked crotches, rot, and poor location with trees that an elderly family member planted years and years ago, and unfortunately the Acme Tree Vaporizer isn't available.
The tree guy is getting a lot of money now to correct poor choices made many years ago.
their money.

John in Philly said...

The part of my comment that was supposed to say, "Watching the tree guys move around in the trees makes me realize again that they really earn their money," might have been hit by the Acme Comment Vaporizer.
Odd that the Vaporizer left behind only the words, "their money."

Blackwing1 said...

Rather than excavating the entire line length of the sewer have you looked into in-situ lining? If the existing line isn't too bad (no big displacements, no separation of the joints, nothing caved-in yet) they might be able to do that. It involves putting a fiberglass sock into the line (from inside the house, they have to jackhammer the basement floor) and impregnating it with epoxy resin and hardener as it goes in. Then they insert a REALLY long balloon and inflate it to hold its shape, and leave it to harden for 24 hours. They use a tool to cut it off flush with the sewer pipe at the far end and then re-connect the new lining to your drain line.

We had ours done 7 or 8 years ago after the maple tree in the front yard found a gap in the clay tile drain pipes and gagged the sewer line with roots. We had it augured out, and the guy told us we'd either have to auger it every couple of years or cut down the tree. It's a huge Norway maple that gives incredible shade, so we opted for the lining.

It's guaranteed for 50 years and while the inside diameter of the drain pipe is minutely smaller the smoother inside surface actually makes it drain better than the original.

It also completely eliminates the water leaks from the drain pipe that attracted the tree roots in the first place. That maple used to be the last tree on the block (in the city?) to drop its leaves; there would usually be snow piled on them before they'd come off. Now it turns color along with everything else, and drops at the same time as the rest of the maples. All I can figure is that it was getting so much water (and nutrients) from the leaking sewer pipe that it caused it to stay green for so much longer.

The city only has 3 contractors that they approve to do the in-situ lining, but at least there's a little competition. It was about half the price of an excavation and replacement.