We wanted to build a detached garage on our property that would be two-stories tall and have an apartment above it. Our house was cramped with two of our five children sharing a bedroom. Our oldest was getting ready to attend a local university, and rent would be too much if she moved out. We got all the permits we needed, but we had to call a place that does tree removal in Nassau County to have two large Maple trees removed down to the roots before we could build on our property. We have a big lot, but it is mostly covered with trees. Two big ones had to come out to make room for the wide three-bay garage we were going to build.
I had no idea how many roots a tree had before these ones were taken out. The top of the tree was cut down, and a backhoe came in and dug all around the two stumps. A huge root ball was pulled up for both trees. They had to be hauled away separately, because the dump truck could only hold one at a time. The company that does tree removal in Nassau County told me that the canopy of leaves and branches above ground for a tree is as big as the root system underneath. Mostly, when trees are cut, the stumps are ground down to just below the surface of the ground and covered in dirt. Then, people usually plant grass there. The roots eventually die and are reabsorbed into the ground. Since we were going to build, the roots had to be dug out anyway.
Even after they dug for the footer and foundation area, we still needed a little bit of dirt to backfill. That is how much space those roots took up that were dug out. The new garage is beautiful with its apartment, but it was an interesting building project with those trees there. We encountered roots for every underground line and cable that needed to be laid for the garage.