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We have a pine tree in our backyard leaning at 35 degrees of an angle. On one side of the tree the roots seem to be separating from the ground(there is a hollow gap of 6 inches forming underground between roots and ground, because the dirt is lifting up in between the roots the hollow space is not visible.) The tree is tilting everyday another 1/16 of an inch more measured at 12 feet up. Our landlord doesn’t believe me that the tree was s falling nor will come over to inspect it. A small storm will tip it 1/4 inch, a very heavy storm will tip the tree 2 inch. Any suggestion of how to convince our landlord that the tree(30-40 feet tall) will fall? Or are pine tree’s roots to strong to make it fall? Will it fall suddenly? I think when it reaches 37 degrees it might snap. Is there a common sense angle at which one should cut a tree? Thanks, Jan

  • This question has little to do with gardening. Your landlord will not follow advice for a bunch of "internet people". Try to send him few photos (maybe also some older, so that the change of leaning is obvious), and tell him what it can destroy (and he should repay). – Giacomo Catenazzi Feb 1 at 7:10
  • Yes it will fall suddenly. The common sense time to fell a tree which is leaning so far that roots are being pulled from the ground is "a long time ago." But this isn't a question about gardening! – alephzero Feb 1 at 8:58
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    Put your concerns in writing, include any photos as suggested by Giacomo, and mail it certified to your landlord. Obviously, keep a copy of everything you've mailed. If the tree is going to fall on his property and he's too cheap to hire someone, you need to protect yourself from any blame, Also - if it's going to fall on YOUR property (car, your possessions inside his house), then you need to set yourself up for a possible civil claim. I hope it's not aiming for one of your bedrooms. – Jurp Feb 1 at 12:08
  • I would just take a picture and walk it on over to your nearest fire department and find yourself a reputable witness there. – Rob Feb 1 at 22:42
  • If you happen to have truck you don't care about, you mjght try parking it over the side where the roots are lifting. – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 2 at 20:07
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Move anything you want from the fall zone , and document your correspondence with the owner. Trees can grow at amazing angles but it sounds like yours is falling. Last spring there was a 20" diameter oak leaning about 20 degrees toward the power lines from the National Forest ; I called the power company and they put it on their "list" of thing to do. After a few weeks we had another heavy rain. That oak and a vertical 100 ft X 30 " diameter ( a medium tree here) southern pine both fell . The pine would have leveled my garden shed except the power lines stopped it just as it touched my roof. Points :

  • Trees fall , sometimes even if vertical.
  • It is the wet ground as much as the wind that drops them.
  • They tip over in the wet soil most often ( not snap).
  • There is a chance no one will take timely action.

Cutting a tipped tree can be risky ; it should be easy to find a professional to take down a modest size tree of 35 ft. As reference ; last summer I had a 100 ft X 40 " diameter pine ( big but not very big) cut down and hauled away for $ 500 , it required a 100 ft boom to reach it from the driveway, (there is a busy lumber industry here in the Piney Woods). On second thought ,since it is not your tree you better stick with documentation and do not walk under the tree.

  • Thank you and everybody for your advice. I wish there would be a better science for predicting a tree falling. My science was to hang a plum bob from a string about 12 feet up close to the trunk to determine the daily and monthly movements. The greater the movement it most likely indicates that it is falling soon. Well when my tree falls I at least have some idea how resilient a tree can be before falling over. For people with similar problems one should also check the ground around the tree, the ground often hides that the roots are separating and that a hollow space is forming underneath. – Jan Feb 3 at 21:42

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