The problem with trees

There are many advantages to having a tree on your property. It adds visual appeal, can increase the value of your home, provide much needed shading in the hot summer months, even savings in your home cooling bills in the summer due to that shading, but did you know that these gorgeous trees can also cause problems to your foundation?

While tree roots may not seem dangerous, they can put incredible pressure on the foundation of your home, causing cracks or movement. For these reasons, you want to be sure to watch the growth of existing trees and pay attention to new tree planting around your home. The roots from very large trees that have been planted too close to your home can push up against the foundation and cause problems such as:

  • During times when there is not a lot of moisture/rain, roots can deplete the soil moisture under the foundation which can cause the home to settle unevenly due to dry and unstable soil.
  • Cracks in your foundation
  • As tree roots increase in diameter, they wedge themselves between the basement wall and the surrounding soil, creating more pressure with each passing year. The pressure they can exert, especially in conjunction with the expansion and contraction of frost heave, can crack basement walls.

Planting new trees? Here are some steps you can take to avoid future foundation problems:

  • Research the type of tree you plan on planting. Some trees are safer than others. Some have very complex root systems. Be sure that you ask questions before purchasing your tree.
  • Roots can travel very far and can grow very large (sometimes 3 times the height of the tree!), so be sure that the tree is planted far from your foundation. Again, it is best to consult with an expert before planting.
  • If the tree on your property is an existing tree, make sure that you keep it pruned. This will keep it at a safe height and keep its root system under control.

Problems with your foundations and tree roots is something that is 100% avoidable. By planting your tree mindfully, and keeping a watchful eye on existing trees, you can keep your foundation in tip-top condition and the value of your home intact.

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