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  1. #1

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    Removing Roots?

    The trail I ride has a ton of roots all through the trail, which makes it slightly unenjoyable to ride.

    Is there anyway to remove the roots? How so?

  2. #2
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    Get yourself a pro hoe.

    https://www.prohoe.com/item573083.ctlg


  3. #3
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    Take a look at the Kelowna trail maintance party in western canada forum.

    Roots provide a challenge to riders leave them be.

    All trail slash etc goes on the downhill side of the trail and will tend to catch, erosion dirt etc.

  4. #4
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Now, if this trail is on your own private property, please disregard the following

    What kind of trail is this - state park, forest, public, private? My suggestion is that you not do any trail work until you talk to the parties responsible for maintaining the trail.

    To take on changing the nature of the trail because you have difficulties with it, on your own, is considered very bad form

    if you haven't cleared your trail work with the managers. However if it's on any sort of public land, do not do this on your own. If riding roots is a continuing difficulty, perhaps a skills clinic can help.

  5. #5

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    I will make it unanimous. Dont rip out roots. You should post picks of the worst spot. I cant believe they are that bad.

  6. #6
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    If you do intend to take out roots*, the rule of thumb is to leave in anything bigger than your forearm. If the root is exposed, you can take an extra step to protect them by armoring them with available rock. If the roots are on the uphill side of the tree, try to leave them in b/c you may weaken the tree which could eventually uproot and fall over causing damage to your trail.

    *Taking out roots is a personal preference/land manager's decision.

    D

  7. #7

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    Are you serious??

    No, I'm asking - Are you serious???

  8. #8
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    I find a pair of loppers works better than a hoe. It leaves the ground around the root in better shape. BUT, I agree with the others,don't remove any roots without permission from whoever takes care of the trail. The roots might be hard for you to ride,but they might be fun for others.It bothers me when somebody changes a part of the trail to make it easy for them to ride.There are parts of my local trails that I can't ride,but I try and try again untill I can make it.That is one of the best parts of trail riding. Don't bring the trail down to your skill level. Bring your skill level up to the trail. I help maintain trails in two parks,and I am always looking for more people to help out with trail work. I am sure your local trail care people would love to have your input and help.
    I will get down from my soap box now.

  9. #9
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    Learn to like the roots.
    Too Old to Die Young

  10. #10

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    don't remove the roots! ride-em.
    as others have posted-removeing them will not only tick off the property owners/managers, but it will dammage and kill a tree for no reason but to make the trail less challenging, if the roots are really a issue, then as someone else already pointed out- pick up rocks from around the area and armour that section of trail, thus saving the tree, preventing any erosion problems and avoiding upsetting the wrong people and causing MTB'ing to bre prohibited there.
    Besides when you armour the trail it always makes a unique and fun challenge to any trail.

  11. #11
    "Its All Good"
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    In all seriousness, dont be chopping roots of a living tree, just my opinion..............
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  12. #12
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    In all seriousness, dont be chopping roots of a living tree, just my opinion..............
    agreed!

  13. #13
    Sheepherder/Cat Herder Moderator
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    Sorry party dude. I am with the majority. I leave every thing bigger than 3 inches in diameter. Everything else gets armored. The call in our community is to make everything more technical, so roots & rocks stay.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  14. #14
    zrm
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    Not all trails should be technical. Many people enjoy buff, swoopy single track. Plus, for all the talk of how bikes with lots of suspension have created the need for more technical trails, people still tend to go around areas with lots of roots, thus widening the trails.It all depends on what the nature of the trail is.
    This isn't to advocate taking out all roots, but removing them is appropreate in many settings and a healthy tree can easily have a small portion of its roots cut without ill effect.

    For remove them, use the axe end of a pulaski for larger ones . for smaller ones you can use a pair of heavy duty loppers and just clip them out.

  15. #15
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    Leaving them or cutting them out? While leaving them is most often the right answer, like someone else posted, there are are definately situations where removing them is for the good. However, regardless of the situation, there is one VERY right answer for your question......do not do anything without first contacting the people in charge of maintaining the trail. As the trail operations and manager for our club, I will say that unauthorized trail changes or maintenance very, rarely ever turn out to be what is best for the trail, regardless of the good intentions. Besides the possibility of removing part of the challenge that alot of riders enjoy, removing roots can also lead to severe trail erosion issues.
    Check for signs at the trailhead, look online, or even ask around at your local bike shops, odds are they know who does what with trail maintenance. Get involved if you want to really have a say about the trails in your local area. You do not want to overhear riders at the trail head complaining about some anonymous smuck, only to realize they are talking about you.

    Brian
    Last edited by BrianU; 12-02-2007 at 12:42 PM.

  16. #16
    The plough
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    Wow... clear the trees while you are at it. They are blocking even more of your path.

    ...then lay down some gravel, and then tar and more gravel, and you get roads! Oh, hey, that's already been done.

    Seriously:

    a) learn to like the roots
    b) build ramps OVER the roots that are truly out of the Amazonian rain forest
    c) do not ride this trail - go somewhere else

    V.

  17. #17
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    What you might find to be "unenjoyable" may be fun and challenging to others. I'd leave the roots alone.

  18. #18
    local trails rider
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    Can you cover them instead of removing them?
    Make a smooth option by filling the spaces between roots with dirt or some light timber, or make small bridges over the roots.

  19. #19
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSumner13
    What you might find to be "unenjoyable" may be fun and challenging to others. I'd leave the roots alone.
    What you find challenging may be unenjoyable to others. See the point? It depends in the circumstance of the trail in question, information that wasn't included in the original post.

    Some of the most popular trails that get the most use are not technical trails but buff single track which would seem to indicate that there are plenty of folks out there who don't want big obsticles.

  20. #20
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    I see lots of opinions without detail, so heres info from someone who organizes official work....you're trails may differ....

    on my trails, when a root shows up, it is most likely due to design or construction flaws that allow water based erosion.

    Random roots in the trail, generally leave it, particularly if it is holding back soil that would otherwise wash away. This is common on fall line sections of trail.

    Bench cutting new trail removes lots of roots in the construction process. Roots are mostly prominent in the first few inches of organic material which isn't suitable for a tread surface in the first place. Large trees are mostly avoided through design. If I come across a monster root to a signficant tree in the construction process, it gets armored/a pile of dirt on top and turned to a grade dip.

    However if the root is exposed on an existing trail because the trail wasn't properly bench cut in the first place, and the root is causing "trail creep" (turning from single track to double) then I'll whack it...unless its like a forearm size or larger in which case it gets armerd.

    Hope that helps.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fattirewilly
    on my trails, when a root shows up, it is most likely due to design or construction flaws that allow water based erosion.
    Ah, but also watch for increased erosion below the root if you leave it in. Water falling (cascading) over a root has more force than water running down a trail.

    D

  22. #22
    HIKE!
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    It is a tough call. As Fattirewilly's post has alot of good points. We've got a bunch of renegade trails, or user built trails, or trails built literally with no planning or training. Surely that is the case in many locales.

    An example is a trail built in a birch/aspen grove, on flattish terrain. Just becomes a ditch with lots of roots and lots of water pooling. Rather than do tons of repairs, consider moving the trail up onto a sidehill, so it is outsloped and drains. Roots stop "popping up" as much.

    But it surely is not as simple as to remove a root or not. Wow, fat lot of help I am.

  23. #23
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by dburatti
    Ah, but also watch for increased erosion below the root if you leave it in. Water falling (cascading) over a root has more force than water running down a trail.

    D
    I can see your point but wouldn't a check step do the same thing. Those things get installed sometimes when a dip to remove the water isn't an option...like in a fall line gully that should be rerouted, but reroutes aren't the topic.

    Sorta on topic...what's the biggest root you can pop with an SK 500?

  24. #24
    HIKE!
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    We've cut through some roots that are 4" around pretty regularly, and gotten through a few that are more like 6" diameter. We are working with our SK500 in a very open (logged 3 years ago) Ponderosa forest. Roots on these moderate sized ponderosa are pretty weak, really, and suffering through 6-7 years of drought too, may make the roots weaker.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fattirewilly
    I can see your point but wouldn't a check step do the same thing. Those things get installed sometimes when a dip to remove the water isn't an option...like in a fall line gully that should be rerouted, but reroutes aren't the topic.

    Sorta on topic...what's the biggest root you can pop with an SK 500?
    Yep, check steps, water bars, et. al., do the same thing. I'm doing over $2500 worth of work cleaning out check dams installed by another company as a fix to a trail poorly designed and built by a landscape company. A more appropriate solution if the trail cannot be rerouted is to install rolling grade dips. They're less intrusive, don't need much cleaning if any, and more fun for the trail users. The subdivision I'm working in entertaining the idea of rerouting some of its trali when their budget allows it.

    As far as root removal with a mini skid steer, it depends on the tree. Some roots are softer than others. And again, I don't remove any roots bigger than my forearm, so I guess the answer to your question is "the size of my forearm." We have nasty juniper trees (ashe juniperus) here that are loathed by many and should be eradicated, IMO.

    D

  26. #26
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    We have a few different conditions here in that one of the places we ride here is varied in surface but the majority is very rooty and that adds to the ride and difficulty and stays as is and never gets any roots cut unless it's the week before a race and the racers try to sidewalk the trails because speed is more important than skill. Another place we ride has alot more elevation, older trees, and alot of trail traffic. These trails have erosion at roots and are usually not root pruned but are armored and areas that get really difficult to ride have the roots buried and the exposure process starts all over again. The other place was completely leveled and cleared due to hurricane damage and we wish there were some roots here to hold everything together. Everything has to be benchcut carefully, slopes and grades have to be taken into consideration, and everything has to be designed and care must be taken to remember water in ALL we build.

    My point is keep what you have and cover it if you need.

    A tree without roots is as happy as a woman without hair.
    IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE NOT RIDING (or building)!

  27. #27
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by dburatti
    A more appropriate solution if the trail cannot be rerouted is to install rolling grade dips.
    Dburatti, I'm the choir preaching to the preacher, but figure this is good stuff to get out there. I'm definitely in agreement on dips instead of checksteps or water bars. I hate check steps but have seen a few successful uses of them when other alternatives didn't exist.

    On fall line stuff (severely violating the "half rule") where the trail sits lower than either side and reroute isn't a option, check steps are the only way to slow the water because you can't drain to higher ground. The bars often catch significant soil behind them and build a plateau or terrace behind them. Water that otherwise runs down a gully gets redistributed over the width of the step or dam. A series of steps can significantly slow water and erosion til water can be diverted at a dip location. Again a reroute is most practical but not always an option.

    Back to roots, I suppose the level area behind the check dam may not exist with some roots, as the root is pre-existing and not installed with a lip several inches above the trail. Still I see roots holding back dirt in lots of fall line situations.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    What you find challenging may be unenjoyable to others. See the point? It depends in the circumstance of the trail in question, information that wasn't included in the original post.

    Some of the most popular trails that get the most use are not technical trails but buff single track which would seem to indicate that there are plenty of folks out there who don't want big obsticles.
    WOW! I can't believe any experienced rider/ trail manager(?) would suggest something like that. This is MOUNTAIN BIKING! Learn to ride the trail on it's own terms or find a trail that suits your abilitys, or better yet buy a road bike. Once a trail is dumbed down, then what? Mountain biking as a whole stagnates, fewer people have the chance to have their abilitys challenged, and isn't that what mountain biking is all about, challenge? Shall we build all trails suit the lowest common denominator? The ONLY reason to alter a trail is for it's preservation.

    AN OBSTACLE UNCHALLENGED, IS A LESSON UNLEARNED. (Gandi)
    Last edited by Shelbak73; 12-05-2007 at 09:09 PM.

  29. #29
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    Not all trails can be for experts

    People easily forget that there are many trail systems with many users. You can have highly technical trails in places a beginner would never go that can be as nasty and challenging as you like. We also have trail systems in state parks that need to be usable by all users and all ability levels.

    Does this mean our state park trails are dumbed down? Yup, in order to manage the risk to less skilled users. The deal is we would not have trials in our state parks unless they appealed to a wide variety of users. And at the same time you won't find any big hucks, drops, or cliffs at our local state parks, it's just not the place for it. Does this mean our state park trails are not fun or challenging? Heck no, just kick up the speed!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishbum
    People easily forget that there are many trail systems with many users. You can have highly technical trails in places a beginner would never go that can be as nasty and challenging as you like.We also have trail systems in state parks that need to be usable by all users and all ability levels

    Does this mean our state park trails are dumbed down? Yup, in order to manage the risk to less skilled users. The deal is we would not have trials in our state parks unless they appealed to a wide variety of users. And at the same time you won't find any big hucks, drops, or cliffs at our local state parks, it's just not the place for it. Does this mean our state park trails are not fun or challenging? Heck no, just kick up the speed!
    I agree! 100% I believe the trail in question had allready been established, roots and all.
    I feel once a trail has been established, the wishes of the engineer, architec or artist are established as well, and should be upheld. Beauty is in the eyes, or , enjoyment is in the heart of the enjoyer.
    On that note I would like to add, in my area we have two fantastic organizations, Mountain Trails Foundation and Basin Recreation. Together the have come up with an ingenious soloution for maximizing multi-user use by building a slightly braided trail, with plan-b routes built in, so users can choose which obstacles to attack and which to avoid, with little loss of flow, and lessens or eliminates discussions like this.

    p.s. Would that be "flyfish" bum?

  31. #31
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by partydude1377
    The trail I ride has a ton of roots all through the trail, which makes it slightly unenjoyable to ride.

    Is there anyway to remove the roots? How so?
    Leave the roots it is mountain biking. Ride another trail if you want the need for speed. Just look for the local trail that hosts races. If you want a smooth trail ride a fireroad.

  32. #32
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    ...maximizing multi-user use by building a slightly braided trail, with plan-b routes built in, so users can choose...
    Amen, planning is everything. But even the best planning might miss a bad spot that needs to someday be rerouted. I know alot of trail I ride where things are rolling along flowing very nicely and all of a sudden you stuff into a section that just feels out of place. And not all the existing trails have been planned well, some just "appeared" (I never had anything to do with that ).

    p.s. Would that be "flyfish" bum?
    Flyfish, spinfish, bass fish, trout fish, surf fish, inshore fish, pond, stream, river, lake, ocean, whatever it takes. If it wasn't for work I'd be fishing, skiing, or riding. I've been fishing for longer than I've ridden or skied, so fishbum is appropriate!

  33. #33
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    Maybe I missed it but, I didn't see anyone mention roots that are parallel to the trail. I have removed a few of those over the years...along with some that were raised and/or loose and posed a hazard.

    Otherwise, route around them, armor them or just ride over them.
    Never be afraid to try something new.

    Remember amateurs built the Ark.
    Professionals built the Titanic.

  34. #34
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    The devil made me do it.

    [QUOTE=formica]
    To take on changing the nature of the trail because you have difficulties with it, on your own, is considered very bad form

    The eleventh commandment.

    THANK YOU!

  35. #35
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    Right question, Wrong forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by partydude1377
    The trail I ride has a ton of roots all through the trail, which makes it slightly unenjoyable to ride.

    Is there anyway to remove the roots? How so?
    As you an see grasshopper, You've touched a nerve. You'll find roots are like hills, at first you hate them when you are forced to push your bike. Then you'll finally climb that hill, and feel the satisfaction in your victory. You know what happens next? You'll look for steeper hills and larger roots to test your skills on. That's what it's all about my brother, rejoicing in your ever growing abilities. Once you remove that root or rock it can never be ridden again, by you or anyone else seeking to improve their skills/abilities by it's challenge. Please accept the challenge of riding trails on their terms.

  36. #36
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    Also....try running you tires 5 PSI less!

    But above all cover the roots, don't cut them!
    IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE NOT RIDING (or building)!

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