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Palm Hound

Coconut Palm too close to house

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Palm Hound

Sorry I don't have a photo. It's too far to travel just to take a picture. Although it would be a good excuse for a vacation. Anyway, my brother asked me, "Do you know if a Coconut palm could wreck the foundation of a house? I have one that is getting big and it is about a foot or two from my house." I don't know if he's just talking about the roots, which I hear are pretty tough or if he's talking about the trunk hitting the house. Could the roots cause damage to a house?

Thanks, Dave

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Kris

Dear Dave :)

i have heard that dicot trees tend to damage the house & its foundation if placed too close ! inperticular if seweage lines or water tanks are situated at the foot of those trees..but i have never heard much about the damage caused by palm trees...but if the trunk is close to the wall of the house and if its banging against it while their is a gentle breeze,then its high time to relocate or fell that tree !

but its difficult to imagine without stills of the palm in discussion...And if their is a bathroom or a area where constant water is used,the coconut trees roots have the dendency to enter that area.since one of my friend had to cut down & reconstruct his water tank,since the coconut tree roots cracked up the side wall of that underground water storage tank ! since the tank want retain water in it and its cracked side wall had roots reaching the water within that tank..

love,

Kris :)

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rozpalm

I thought (to be clear I am an amature so don't take my word for it) that palm tree roots don't expand and remain the same size for life (ie no hair like roots that grow into monsters). They may find a way in but they are not going to break up the concrete the way a dicots roots would.

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Wai`anae Steve

Going back to the topic of being attacked by a palm tree. The one who's coconut hit me on the head was at the corner of a concrete slap and was lifting it. I don't think the slap was very thick maybe 3 inches but it was being lifted and cracks were developing.

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Darold Petty

Hello to all, I still consider myself a beginner, even after all these years! :winkie: All palms are woody monocotyledons, in the same group as grasses and lilies. They have no cambium, thus the trunk cannot expand in diameter from year to year. All palm roots erupt from the base of the stem with a given diameter and (again, no root cambium) cannot expand in diameter either. Also, palms do not have a 'taproot'! This is why palms do not heave or break concrete. Dicotyledons plants like oak trees grow a tiny root adjacent to concrete or within a small crack, then the root growth in diameter exerts a tremendous force against the concrete, heaving or breaking it. Kris, it is likely that your friend's water tank concrete cracked first and then the palm roots were attracted by the water source.

I have a mature Parajubaea cocoides with a trunk diameter of 60 cm ( 24 inches). It is planted just inches away from the sidewalk, a concrete slab just 10 cm (4 inches) thick. This palm has never damaged or lifted the concrete. I have seen a few instances where the sheer volume of roots did damage concrete. An example would be a mature Phoenix canariensis planted in a restricted area, perhaps 1 meter square.

One potential risk of damage to the house foundation would be this scenario: The coconut palm grows well, becomes tall, and with a large root mass. If this palm were blown over by strong wind, the trunk could act as a gigantic lever, and the root mass could damage the foundation if the roots were leveraged upwards while the trunk was blown down.

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Walter John

No, exception being if blown over.

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Dave-Vero

Darold Petty got it right. The ability of palm trunks to expand a bit is very unusual for monocots and doesn't apply to the roots, which cannot widen after their initial growth.

Cambium is a fantastic morphological invention that's enabled non-monocots to do some amazing things. (There is no longer such a thing as a "dicot". Monocots are a distinctive group within the flowering plants, but on a phylogenetic tree, they're just one of a number of major branches. This was already figured out forty or more years ago by people like Takhtajan and Cronquist, but recent research has made it absolutely, positively obvious).

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Kris
All palms are woody monocotyledons, in the same group as grasses and lilies.Kris, it is likely that your friend's water tank concrete cracked first and then the palm roots were attracted by the water source.

thanks for the info dear Darold Petty and i will convey this info to my friend..but the visuals of the red coir coloured nylon kind of roots are still lingering in my mind,that i have seen in his water tank..! :)

love,

Kris :)

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