How To Avoid Tree Roots When Constructing a Fence

Building a fence by a tree involves planning and the use of a few important, strategic measures. Fencing that causes damage to large roots could lead to the death of the tree. Damages caused to the smaller parts of the root system can stagnate growth. In some areas, you may need a special variance or permit before proceeding with this construction.

That invasive or aggressive root growth can diminish the structural and aesthetic integrity a fence by forcing its posts out of alignment or causing it to buckle.

How Can I Avoid Tree Roots When Constructing a Fence?

Measure the length of your proposed fence line.
Place stakes across the length of the proposed fence line. Then run string between each stake to show the course that the fence will travel. Stakes should be tapped into the ground right where each fence post will ultimately be.

Consider the distance between existing trees and the proposed fence line.
Take stock of the distance between the proposed fence line and any nearby trees. Stakes and the fence posts that will eventually replace them should be situated beyond the drip line or the spread of any tree branches. Both large and small tree roots typically only spread as far as the branches. By placing fence posts beyond the fence line, you’ll be minimizing the likelihood of problems.

Locate existing tree roots by digging.
Gently dig at each stake site to identify any roots that abut future post locations. If you are constructing a fence inside of the drip line, it could be necessary to change the placement of post locations by moving them several inches up or several inches down your fence line to avoid harming any large roots. If the fence is too close to nearby trees or other plants, you may not be able to push posts through the clusters of small roots that are present.

Pound the stakes down.
Pound stakes down to a depth of approximately two to three feet in areas where clusters of roots are not permitting the installation of posts. Professional fence installers suggest auguring or digging holes of up to 3 1/2 feet for any posts that will require you to pour concrete footings as protection against insects and for added stability.

Relocate planned holes.
In areas in which obstacles are encountered, relocate holes that you’ve pre-determined. This may require you to minimize or increase the spacing between holes. However, it may be possible to maintain posts at regular intervals if you’re able to displace or slant the fence moderately and across its entire length. For instance, on larger properties, it may be possible to start the fence up to six feet inside of the property line, while ending the fence on the line itself. This will let you bypass most or all problems with tree roots.

Start inserting your posts. At this time, you’ll be ready to dig your holes, insert the posts and either pour your concrete or add dirt or gravel to stabilize the posts. Aerate all soils around trees that have become compacted the construction process. This will give roots of every size ample opportunity to rebound by supplying them with access to essential water and air supplies.

If you’re thinking about installing a new fence, Contact Us Today with any questions on installing a fence near a tree.