I have a problem. i installed drainage around my property and have planted...

Asked January 17, 2020, 10:46 AM EST

I have a problem. i installed drainage around my property and have planted apple and peach trees.. my drainage is better but no perfect. and now my neighbor planted bald cypress which are now growing over and around my drainage. the best remedy is a chainsaw, the second best is copper sulfate down the line. The risk is translocation of the copper to my trees. the drainage is slit perf pipe with a sock cover and 3-4 in of gravel and my trees are dwarf variety on bud-9 root. The line passes 1 tree 75 ft down line from where I would poor the copper. at what strength can it be mixed to do any good on the cypress in the first 50 ft. and what is the real risk of damage to the bud -9 tree? lateral translocation is my biggest concern.

Hamilton County Ohio

1 Response

Hi Hamilton County, I think I get the picture of your problem. I also think that I would not pour a copper product to kill roots down the drainage line. The first problem with that is the perforations in the drainage tile. Generally, the copper products are for a sewer tile system that has small breaks and roots have grown in and plugged the line. That product depends on the fact that there are small crystals that settle in the lowest places and give out a copper solution as a new wave of water flows by. The resulting mixture of copper and water is toxic to roots and they die (usually). The perforations in the tile will allow the copper product to leak out and NOT do what you want.

Let's talk about liability. Generally, tree law states that you can remove overhanging limbs when going upwards from your property line - perpendicular to the property line. That means that you can remove the limb that is hanging over your property --but there is a disclaimer: you can't endanger the health of the tree by doing the removal of the limb. I would think that you would also be liable for the health of the offending tree if you poisoned the roots on your side of the line. Yes, I have gone to residential areas that the people complained that something was wrong with their tree. No one would own up to the fact that someone in the area had poured a chemical down the drain and the tree took up the chemical and was subsequently looking pretty bad. Not a good thing for the neighborhood. Also, you didn't explain where the drainage went. If you allow the product to drain into a creek, river or such, then you would be liable to EPA fines!

Here is what I would do: Call the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District offices when they get back to work after the holiday. You might have to persist and call several times or even go to their offices and state your problem. They are there to work out drainage problems for ALL people in the county. Yes, I know that they mostly deal with farm drainage and soil conservation but they are also tasked with trying to help everyone in the county. Have them come and take a look at your situation. They might suggest another method of drainage and a way to remedy the situation. You definitely need someone on the ground at the site looking at what is going on.

To sum up, get in touch with the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District offices and have them come and evaluate the situation. Don