invasive roots from neighboors tree

Asked August 8, 2020, 3:56 PM EDT

Hello, our neighbor has a large what I think is a flowering cherry tree (non fruit bearing). It has large roots that span across the surface and smaller roots that send up little sproutlings across our yard. One large root is heading for our paver pathway and foundation. I was hoping to get your advice on what I should do to address this problem. If I cut the main root that's pointed to our yard I'm worried the root system that's already in place will continue to grow. I tried digging them up but it's very hard. Please see the pictures attached and thank you for any advice you're able to provide.

Washington County Oregon

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. Could you please tell me how far from the main stem your sucker is? Thank you..

Hi Kristena, many of them are reaching 25' away from the trunk and it appears to be further each year and more of them. This year we have about 40 little sprouts all over our yard. Thanks

There are two aspects to this: one is horticultural; the other is legal. You cannot apply any effective chemical such as Roundup to the suckers without a substantial risk of harming or killing the "mother" tree. The 'easy' way is to mow them down. However, they will continue to invade your property, since that is the mother tree's job: keep the family growing!

However, applying an effective herbicide which does, in fact, injure or kill the plant on your neighbor's property has legal risks. Tree limbs which extend over property lines can safely (from the mother tree's perspective) be accomplished, although the aesthetic value of the tree may be diminished. Before using an herbicide, I would recommend that you consult with a property law attorney lest you are sued by the neighbor for damage to the neighbor's property (the tree).

Another approach would be to have a discussion with your neighbor to see if you can come up with some middle ground approach such as installing an underground barrier which reduces or eliminates the creeping roots. I hope this is helpful.