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Buried trees

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  • Buried trees

    I have a flat area that I am considering fencing in for turnout. One of my neighbors told me that he thought some trees were buried in part of it about 15 + years ago. There are no obvious depressions. I was wondering if there is any way to tell if this could be true. I googled but all info seems to be about giant sinkholes. Anyone have ideas?

  • #2
    Why are you worried about trees being buried there?

    I think if buried vegetation has not caused a sink hole in 15+ years then it is safe to assume it will not cause one now.

    (Written by someone who knows right where the trees were buried in their front yard when grading was done because we have to fill the sink hole in ever few years to bring it back up to level of the rest of the yard.)
    Last edited by trubandloki; Sep. 11, 2019, 08:15 AM.


    • #3
      Same here. My buried tree holes started sinking way before 15 years. However, if yours do, it's not likely to sink all at once like a giant sinkhole. It will just slowly form a depression over a long time. Your fence would probably just adjust, or worse case, you'd have to redo a post or two. I wouldn't let it hold up your project.


      • #4
        We cleared a couple of acres for pasture. Most of the trees were sent to the lumber yard. The stumps were burned in the center of the pasture. Probably 6-7 years later a depression formed in that area. Lucky for me, we didn't build the barn and fence until 12 years after the clearing/burning. When the equipment was here to do the final grade around the barn I had them address the depression.

        If you don't have a low spot at this point, I doubt you will have one.


        • #5
          I'll agree that after 15+ years, if the area is still level and has no areas that are sinking, that it would be fine. I would think in that time that critters and microbes and water would have dispatched the wood by now. But that may depend on the tree species.

          We've been trying to fill a rather large ravine between our yard and side pasture for years. When we gutted our 1900-era pole barn 17 years ago, we put the scrap wood in that ravine, followed by tree limbs and leaves and logs and whatnot. Well some of that wood from the barn can still be seen - not sure of species, but was told it was walnut and oak. We had to literally drill holes before nailing or setting screws in it because it is so hard. So, tree species may matter for decomp of buried trees.
          ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


          • #6
            My neighborhood has a bunch of houses built in the early 90s on one side of the road and a bunch of houses occupied by people who’ve lived there for 30+ years on the other side of the street- very wooded area but lots of horses. The builder who did a lot of the 90s constructions buried trees/stumps. When I moved in a couple years ago my yard was level and I had other areas cleared & stumped. Just over a year later- 25 years after the house was built, my side yard started very quickly sinking from the buried stuff rotting out.
            Now a few of us in the neighborhood are keeping an eye on one property where the current owners put their driveway & riding ring over the same area where trees had been buried during construction/clearing 20 years ago. Fence to the outside and give yourself big enough gates to get in with equipment if/when needed!


            • #7
              Originally posted by CLB15 View Post
              When I moved in a couple years ago my yard was level and I had other areas cleared & stumped. Just over a year later- 25 years after the house was built, my side yard started very quickly sinking from the buried stuff rotting out.
              Do you know that it had always been level or maybe the previous home owner had added fill and reseeded prior to selling the house?

              As soon as the grass finishes growing where we just added more fill and top soil, you will not know that the large depression has been filled in twice now.


              • Original Poster

                I, too, have heard that buried trees can decompose at different rates. I was wondering if there was a way to tell how far along the process was. i was even thinking of somehow driving a metal rod into the ground to see how much resistance. That probably sounds ridiculous but I would like the odds on my side if possible.


                • #9
                  Your local ag extension or USDA office may be able to help. I'd give them a call. The forestry folks (in my area anyway), are very knowledgeable and helpful.
                  ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~