We had a bid from Tom the Contractor to install four root barriers to stop the underground tentacles of nearby trees from sucking moisture out from under our concrete slab foundation. We accepted his proposal and are tentatively scheduled to have the work done next week.
His crew will also dig out a row of Nellie R. Stevens holly bushes that grow right next to the house foundation along the west side.
You may recall that whether the hollies should be removed or not is a point of disagreement between the Mike the Engineer who inspected the foundation and this contractor.
The engineer said the hollies are ok, but Red Tip Photinias, also a popular shrub in these parts, should not be grown along a foundation for fear of moisture robbing roots. Tom the Contractor thinks neither should be near the slab.
The Nellie R. Stevens hollies can reach 30 feet in height and spread 15 feet if allowed and the photinias can achieve about half that size. Those are both pretty big plants to have right next to a foundation. If we are betting wrong about the possibility of slab damage from the hollies, I’m betting in favor of the foundation and saying so long to the hollies.
To be honest I never liked them anyway. The have prickly leaves with pokey things that can cut you. I’m allergic to them and they quickly grow out of control. Buh-bye hollies.
The root barriers, also called root caps or root walls, will be installed to keep the roots of three species of trees away from the foundation, two oaks, a maple and an ornamental pear. The canopies of all of them either do or almost reach over to the roof line meaning the roots most likely reach the foundation.
To be sure, there is debate over how much foundation movement is caused by tree roots. Again, we are betting on the notion that we are protecting the foundation and are having the root barriers installed.