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1952 build Maryland house. My wife wants to landscape the area on the south side of our house. We were planning on putting Otto Luyken English Laurel next to the house. Upon digging I notice this irregular, large stone, cementitious "vein" running along the side of the house about 2 feet deep extending (as best I can tell) 2 feet from the house (honestly I don't know if it's attached to the foundation. There is a big oak Tree about 10 ft from this location. I BELIEVE I can get under it, but I'm not 100% sure.

Is this part of the foundation in any way? Would it be safe or recommended (or not) to use a jack hammer or hammer drill to break it up to make more room for the Laurel root system or should we look for an alternative solution?

full view one of the holes close up

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    The cement vein is probably part of the house, since it is not natural. Are you sure that is a root and not a pipe? Just looks odd colour in the picture. If a root then you can remove it .
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 21:03
  • yes definitely a root. My other guess is that the concrete it was someone's side project and they put waste concrete here, but not sure. It wouldn't surprise me given the few last owners.
    – diyer0001
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 21:11
  • Will need to remove the dirt to the house to know if the cement is important. At two feet it should not be deep enough for footings. Basement does go deeper?
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 21:17
  • this house is cut into a hill, so on the south side of the house it's ground level and north side it's underground. So in this area there is no basement. Is there any way to tell that it's important?
    – diyer0001
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 21:21
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    Could be a pump dump: the contents of the concrete pump pipe/hose, or a spill. Very common.
    – P2000
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 5:29

3 Answers 3

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The concrete is 2 feet deep. It should not cause any issue with the plants you want to put in. Anything needing to be planted 2 feet deep or deeper should not be placed that close to the house.

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A "concrete cover" is sometimes used to protect buried utilities below. A few inches of concrete are poured in the trench, over the pipes or conduits, typically for gas or electric. It allows a reduction in burial depth, at least for electric.

As such, attacking it without eliminating that possibility might be ... unwise.

Then again, in Maryland, you might be looking at your footer for that part of the house, if they just poured it in a trench with no forms.

The location seems a bit close to the house for a cultivar described as "dwarf" but also described as growing 6-8 feet wide.

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this house is cut into a hill, so on the south side of the house it's ground level and north side it's underground

Could it be a soil erosion prevention

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