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Ed_ 05-23-2008 08:22 AM

Build under a tree?
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I'm posting this here because I couldn't find the "Not Getting Started" section. :o

I've recently been advised that construction under the dripline of a tree often amounts to a sentence of slow death for the tree. This is a result of trauma to the root system.

Naturally, the spot we had picked is right under a fully-grown hackberry tree. Has anyone built successfully under a tree? What did the tree look like several years later? We're considering other spots in the yard too, but to avoid trees entirely, we'd have to build inconveniently far from the back door.

I've attached two unrelated photos. One proves that the beer gods think I need to get moving. The other shows one of the reasons that I haven't. If all goes well, that bed should be all raggedy tall grasses and flowers in a couple of months. I'm new at the gardening thing, so we'll see how it goes. (The compost bin behind was one of our first projects when we moved into the house last summer.)


dbhansen 05-23-2008 09:22 AM

Re: Build under a tree?
Will you be digging a deep foundation and destroying a bunch of roots? Otherwise I would think the tree will be fine, though I'm no arborist. How close will it be? You might have to worry more about the hot gases from the chimney burning nearby branches.
Nice - firebricks to make our ovens, and firebrick (lager) to enjoy our ovens. :)

jengineer 05-23-2008 01:26 PM

Re: Build under a tree?
You may want to reconsider having the chinmney opening up to a comustable source. If you look back on the early threads of CanuckJim he notes that a wel ltended fire with a bit of a choke on the entrance (he has a metal door that lets about 2 inches of air in from the bottom of the door) will get the fire going like a locomotive.

I have seen his fire when it is going and this is the way a fire should be roaring. Scarily big! What you see out of the stack is NOTHING. That means the fire is stoichemtrically brurning the fuel, fuel turned into gas not too lean and not to rich (causes for smoke). It is also extremely hot. If you ever rode on an airplane and looked at the exhaust of the jet engine , you don't see it, rather you see the distortion of the hot exhaust. This is what you will see from a well tended WFO. Anything over the outlet will get singed and possibly get lit off.

RTflorida 05-23-2008 04:37 PM

Re: Build under a tree?
I can attest to Patrick's assessment of building under a tree, the tree can turn to toast from the hot gasses. I have a queen palm that I need to keep the frons trimmed high on the oven side; same goes for the oak that is off to the right and behind the oven. I have had no issues with the oak, but I did scorch a frond on the palm that had sagged a bit low.
Both trees are plenty far away and diligent trimming keeps them safe

CajunKnight 05-23-2008 05:15 PM

Re: Build under a tree?
if this is the tree I am thinking about it has a root system similar to an oak tree. The roots are shallow and somewhat exposed. Do not build over or cover them or the tree will die. You say you have an area farther away from house? Water and electric doesnt look like it would be a huge problem in your yard sp gp for it. I say build it and they will come. Where the fire is located is where the party is located. Also solar lighting works quite well and can be obtained fairly cheap and water can be carried in a bucket. ;)

gjbingham 05-23-2008 11:00 PM

Re: Build under a tree?
Chop it down! Build the oven! :)

Frances 05-24-2008 03:05 AM

Re: Build under a tree?
Yeah there you go, wot he said. I chopped down a huge nut tree to build my oven - and then you get a bunch of free firewood as well.

I felt pretty bad about the poor tree to begin with, but having my oven in the ideal position near the house is well worth it. And the aditional sunshine is nice, too.

Actually the next-door-neighbour's tree is fairly close to my oven now. Its roots should be safe, but some of the branches may suffer... which is just too bad.

vincent 05-24-2008 04:52 AM

Re: Build under a tree?
Just a thought here from the ovens point of view instead of the trees'. How will root growth affect the structural integrity of the concrete pad the oven is built on?

CajunKnight 05-24-2008 08:15 AM

Re: Build under a tree?
roots are not a friend to a slab. If the tree doesn't die the roots will keep growing and push the slab right out of the ground. Take a walk down the city sidewalk and you will see areas of concrete pushed up. If you plant the wrong type of tree near your house you can really damage your slab over the years. There should be nothing growing under your slab. Avoid this at all cost.

Les 05-24-2008 11:01 AM

Re: Build under a tree?

Originally Posted by CajunKnight (Post 33252)
roots are not a friend to a slab. If the tree doesn't die the roots will keep growing and push the slab right out of the ground.

Some trees are friendly - like a flowering pear. Silver Maple's on the other hand are EVIL!!! I would not plant one of those things within 100 yards of anything. They should even be outlawed by the arbor society. (Bad experience)


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