Many homeowners give little thought to the trees surrounding their property. If the damage is caused by falling branches, you are usually covered by insurance. However, trees can do more damage than you might realise, and it extends further than falling debris. In addition, the damage will often occur underground where it is out of sight.
Trees often have huge systems of roots that can spread out up to three times further than what you see above the ground. It is not uncommon for smaller tree roots to eat into the foundation’s concrete walls and weaken the structural integrity of your home. Subsidence that results from the growth and expansion of tree roots is an even more common problem, which can lead to faster water absorption underneath and around your property, causing the foundation to crack under the pressure of rapid changes in soil moisture.
Will Removing a Tree Help?
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to believe that removing the surrounding trees from their property will solve the problem. However, this seemingly preventative measure can often end up making the issue even worse. Rotting roots can speed up the destabilization of the soil and increase your risk of foundation failure even further. That’s why it’s important to contact a licensed professional for advice before removing any trees that might be affecting your property’s foundation.
Trees Aren’t Always a Bad Thing:
Although they can cause foundation problems in some cases, the extensive root systems of trees around your home can also offer some important benefits to the foundation. They stabilise the soil, helping to prevent erosion, which can be particularly useful for sloped areas. In addition, trees also help with water drainage by soaking up extra moisture from the soil, making them useful for areas with heavy rainfall.
If you are planting new trees around your home, it is best to overestimate the distance that you will need for each sapling. Before planting, research the maximum height that the type of tree is expected to grow to, and multiply that number by three to get an idea of how large the roots could potentially grow. This will help to reduce the risk of root systems coming into direct contact with the foundation of your property.
When you have older trees that are already close to your property and at risk of causing foundation problems, consider installing root barriers rather than removing the tree.