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Tree Roots and Aboveground Swimming Pool (IL)

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From: Paul Kohnen
Germantown, IL
I have a 30 Year old Maple Tree, approx. 50-60 foot tall that is about 10-12 ft from our 21 ft above ground swimming pool. The pool is approx. 14 years old. When we removed the liner & walls, we seen that the roots from the Maple Tree had followed the inside walls of the pool. The largest of the roots is approx. 3 in" in diameter. There is also a web of fine roots that cover the entire area under the liner. Can I remove the roots, and if so, what is the best time of the year to do so? I don't plan on installing the new pool until next spring. If I can remove the roots, do I use an Axe or Saw? Do I have to put something on the end of the larger roots after I cut them?

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Greetings Paul:

To answer your first question, yes you can remove the tree roots that are under the liner. However, the more important question is whether or not the removal of the roots will cause short- and/or long-term damage to the affected tree. Removing a few roots, if done properly, should have limited impact on the the affected tree. However, I'm in no position to provide you blanket approval on such a tree root removal program without physically assessing the situation.

Therefore, my suggestion is that you need to contact a certified arborist for an onsite inspection and assessment. The Illinois Arborist Association maintains a list of certified arborists in the state of IL.

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