We just moved into a new (for us) house last summer, and one of the things we've realized since we moved in, is about this tree. It's a huge tree about 3-4 feet from the house, which we're told was there before the house was built next to it. The problem is that moles or some other kind of "critter" has dug in under the tree apparently killing some of the roots and hollowing out under some of the trunk of the tree. We put moth balls in the hole to chase away the "critters" and we've filled the hole with rocks, but is there more we should do? We were told by some to fill it in with concrete and not only would that stop the decay, but it would keep the critters from going back in and help to stabilize the tree in case that became a problem in later years. Is this true? We would like to save the tree if possible since it is so big. One tree trimming company told us that if we had the tree taken down we could ultimately have foundation problems when the roots underground start to rot and soften. So now we're not sure what to do with it or about it. (The house is about 20 years old so the tree is for sure 20 years and plus some since it was there when the house was built). And I think it's a Post Oak tree.
Re: Huge tree
If the tree needs to be taken down it should.
Filling the hole with concrete will only hasten rot & the eventual death of the tree. Rocks in the hole probably aren't much better.
If you want & like the tree contact a reputable arborist company, not a tree trimmer.
I can recommend Bartlet Tree Experts. They are a national company & have the knowledge about trees and access to labs and will tell you if the tree can & should be saved.
Let's think about it. A huge tree toppling on your house or the off chance rotting roots might cause the house to settle. Don't forget that if the tree falls, the roots will rot too. I have to agree with DB., that actively growing roots are more likely to cause problems to a foundation.
Re: Huge tree
Here's my suggestion: MOVE
Whatever you do is going to be expensive one way or the other.
I'm surprised the home inspector that you hired before purchasing the house didn't discuss this issue with you.
Some thoughts for your consideration: Keeping the tree.
There is a hole under that tree that is going to hold water. Water is going to cause mold and insects. Roots grow, houses don't, something is gonna give. Trees with limbs drop sap. Sap rots roofs. Tree canopys over houses prevent moisture evaporation. Tree limbs fall on roofs. Tree limbs rub against houses and roofs, not a good thing. Birds live in trees. Birds poop at home, on houses. Poop is dangerous and destructive. Other animals live in trees, like squirels, when it gets cold they want to come inside and they will knaw right through a wood board to get warm. The list goes on. I speak from experience.
Cutting down the tree. Four feet in diameter, I guessing 50 feet tall. Probably going to need a crain to take it down without crashing the roof. Does five grand sound like a lot? Okay the tree is gone. The roots will decay because the worms and termites are going to eat it. What they leave behind is not solid dirt. The ground is going to sink under pressure with the weight of a house on it. Foundations do crack. When insects get through with the roots where are they gonna go next? Then there are the molds that eat the insects so they will be digging holes around the house. And the birds are going to be mad cause you tore down there house and they will bomb every car that comes in your drive.
I hope you aren't upset with my warped sense of humor, but you may have more of a problem than meets the eye. If the house was freshly painted before you moved in I would suggest getting a moisture meter and checking the walls. You may already have a mold problem and don't know it. I had a rental house with this issue and my tenants stayed sick until I figured out the problem.
Re: Huge tree
As an option to such extreme reactions to your problem....(however true it may be that the tree presents a real threat)..moles and voles usually do not create such huge problems although they do like to eat roots, they also aerate the soil as they tunnel along. From the photo it looks like vole damage. There are commercially available products to repel voles, all are made from castor beans. You could try one of these or if you do not have small children you could plant castor bean plants around the base of the tree. You should be aware of the poisonous nature of castor bean... parts of the plant are highly toxic and some parts are used to make ricin. Despite this the plants are grown and used for this purpose and most animals instinctively will not eat it. Would agree with getting a professional assessment of the risks of allowing the tree to remain so near your home and to find out for certain what the problem is since there is a type of fungal disease affecting oak trees in this country which is terminal and contagious to other oaks. Good luck !!
Val in Texas