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The last 3 posts

Monday, July 26th 2004, 3:18pm

by radical

I am a Landscape and Irrigation Contractor and we install irrigation around established trees quite a lot. Of course the cost is more because of the deviations that have to be made. I make it a point to stay just outside the dripline of the tree if I'm using machinery and hand dig if necessary inside the dripline. The type of trees you mentioned should not be affected by a vibratory plow or hand digging.

Sunday, July 18th 2004, 7:20am

by bobw

This is a touchy issue for some people. When we install, we use a vibratory plow (doesn't dig a trench, but puts the pipe 6" into the ground). Tree roots can be a major hassle. We use a saw and cut through them. We've never had a tree take any damage from it, mainly because the roots we are dealing with are only 6" below grade. Any established tree has a much, much deeper root system.

You're definitely going to find that both the arborists and the irrigators have conflicting views on this, good luck.

Friday, July 16th 2004, 5:58am

by jrm

Installation and potential tree root damage?

Hi. After getting several estimates, I finally picked an installer about a month ago and got placed on their waiting list. This company uses the "trenchless" installation method. None of the installers I interviewed seemed to have any reservations about tree roots and one guy even offered to have his team hand dig if they need to run a line near a tree.

Earlier this week I had a certified arborist do some work on a couple of my trees and while chatting I mentioned that I was looking to have a sprinkler system installed. This gentleman very strongly urged me to reconsider and said that installing a system would cause substantial root damage to my trees. The trees in question are primarily 10-15 year old river birch, a crabapple and a few aristocrat pears (street trees).

So, on the one hand, I have an arborist urging me not to install a sprinkler system. On the other hand, I have the sprinkler companies who've installed thousands of systems between them who don't seem to be concerned about root damage.

Another wrench in the gearbox: the arborist, in turn, recommended a landscaping company that does drip system installation. This company uses an "air knife" to blast away dirt with compressed air without harming the tree roots. Here's the catch: the owner of this landscaping company used to work for the arborist (and is, himself, a certified arborist) so I'm not sure if there's a conflict of interest going on here.

I'm seeking experiences from anybody who has installed a sprinkler system in a yard with already-established trees. Were the trees damaged? How did the installer deal with tree roots?