INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

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INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby Shirley M Addy » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:39 pm

Hi Everyone. I'm seeking advice or opinions on incorporating a dead tree trunk into a wall that needs repairing. The wall fell down largely due to a tree which has now been chopped down, leaving a trunk c.18" diameter and c.10" height above ground. Farmer has got rid as much of the trunk as he can with his chainsaw and the trunk will be chemically killed but is unable to cut off part of the trunk vertically (as chainsaw does not cut well along the grain) so it intrudes about 10" into wall's space. Also there's a gas mains pipe nearby. I have three choices on how to rebuild the wall:

1) I curve the wall round the trunk OR
2) Incorporate the trunk into the wall which will be built straight, bearing in mind the trunk will go about 8-10" into the wall, making it narrow behind trunk OR
3) Incorporate the trunk into the wall AND curve the wall at rear, making the wall wider at that point BUT it'll look odd as I'll need to narrow it towards top to match the rest of the wall.

I have no idea how long it takes for a tree trunk to decompose, so would it be safe to build onto the trunk as thought it were a boulder?
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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby jerryg » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:21 pm

You could use it as a stone in the wall if it is a long lasting hard tree like an oak or a hawthorn, but definitely not if it is a birch/willow/alder etc.

I personally would use my own chainsaw to cut verticularly down into the tree and cut it out. A chainsaw can quite happily cut verticularly down into the grain as one does when felling large hardwood trees. But then I keep my chainsaw well sharpened.

However even if you do that you will still need to build over the remains of the stump. I would build the wall in the normal way with normal batter etc and build a vertical section on either side of the stump and cross it with a bridging stone.

I have used this capped walling technique in all the walls I have had to build over tree root/stumps since I discovered it in a wall in 1982. When the root/stump rots away then what is left looks like a badly placed side ways on through stone with a odd looking hole underneath it. It can also look like a badger or rabbit has dug into the base of the wall. I have seen this many times when walling around woodlands. Next time I see one I'll take a photo and put the pictures on here and on my website.
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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby Shirley M Addy » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:08 pm

Hi Jerry, Many thanks for your excellent suggestion of building a lunky around the trunk. I suspect the tree is sycamore but is not very high so there should not be too much of a gap beneath the throughstone/lintel when the rain and beetles have finally done their bit. Shirley
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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby Nigel » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:09 pm

Let us know how you get on with this...

thanks,

Nigel.
ʎɐqǝ uo pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ʎnq ı ǝɯıʇ ʇsɐן ǝɥʇ sı sıɥʇ
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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby Shirley M Addy » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:16 pm

Will try to send a photo when I've completed wall.
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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby Shirley M Addy » Sat Sep 12, 2015 12:21 pm

Jerry, I ended up building the wall by curving it round the back of the tree (which was at the front or 'posh' side) to maintain a minimum thickness and there were a lot of thick roots that we could not extract or chisel into sawdust. However I was able to keep the front side straight with the trunk two or three inches in it and place a through over the trunk. It was an interesting challenge to lay the foundations as I had to place them so that they would not move should when the trunk and roots finally disintegrated. The tree was ash. Thanks again for your useful advice.
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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby tomswailes » Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:42 am

Do you have a picture Shirley?

Last year (before I joined the forum and found this useful thread!) I and a couple of other volunteers decided to take down and rebuild a short section of wall about 20 yards from the door of our tool store where it had been tipped over locally by the roots of an oak tree and it seemed likely to collapse any time onto the east Cheshire 'Gritstone Trail' footpath next to it. We had been keeping an eye on it for a few years. I put in a big lintel stone and through combined, above first through height with a small amount of clearance to the tree, before and after pictures are shown in the volunteers blog
http://kriv-volunteers.blogspot.co.uk/2 ... epair.html

The wall was taken out to foundation level, lower than shown in the blog pictures and some local bridging was done over big roots. With hindsight I would have done it a little differently, but it's a mature tree and one year on there is no sign of any movement, so I'd give it 10 years before it needs to be revisited. Eventually a gap may need to be left with wall heads either side and a fence across, it's a property boundary wall with a downslope on one side and stone flagged path on the other so changing the wall line to curve round the tree wasn't an option. The original wall was built in the 1850s.

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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby Shirley M Addy » Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:22 pm

Tom, No I did not take a photograph. Decided not to make a lunky as the roots would have made it difficult to build two 'wallends' for it.
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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby jerryg » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:27 pm

Here is another alternative way of walling around a tree.

tree in wall.jpg
tree in wall.jpg (42.53 KiB) Viewed 2607 times
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Re: INCLUDING A TREE TRUNK INTO WALL

Postby david perry » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:07 am

I always thought it was bad practice to wall upto and against a tree trunk?? You know why I say that because what happens when or as the tree grows, moves in the wind, or indeed falls over?? (As in Jerry's photo)
I just like stone!!

Click the globe in the bottom right corner to see my blogg
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