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Can Trees Damage Your Foundation?

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damage to your foundation from tree planting

Trees have long stood as powerful representations of what Mother Nature can accomplish. Unfortunately, some of that beauty can be compromised when a tree’s roots start to grow around your home.

If left unchecked or planted too close to your perimeter, a tree’s roots can begin to challenge your foundation’s structural integrity. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to protect your home while still enjoying a wide variety of trees in your yard.

Can Tree Roots Damage Your Foundation?

You may not be able to see your tree’s roots, but they’re doing powerful things beneath and around your home. A number of tree species have aggressive root systems or root systems that grow quickly and spread out to collect nutrients. These root systems can grow near your home and disrupt the structure of your foundation.

That said, tree roots don’t always impact your home the way you’d think they would. Roots, for example, won’t chip away at the concrete that makes up your foundation. They will, however, shift the soil around your home. As that soil shifts, your home may start to settle, and there’ll be a greater chance for water to start interacting with your foundation. Once water gets to your foundation, you’ll have to deal with hydrostatic pressure build-up and all of the seepage consequences that come with it.

In short, then: yes, tree roots can damage your home. They won’t, however, take their cues from Audrey II and physically try to destroy your property. Instead, it’s the way they impact the soil around your home that should worry you.

How Should You Protect Your Home From Invasive Tree Roots?

Good news! It’s not as difficult as you might think to protect your home from tree roots. You have a myriad of solutions and preventative measures on hand, including the following: 

  • Plant Wisely – If you’re landscaping a new plot, make sure you choose your plants, hedges, and shrubs wisely. Try to avoid overly aggressive species and make sure your larger plants are a reasonable distance away from your perimeter.
  • Transplant Your Trees – If you already have trees in your yard that you think may compromise the structural integrity of your home, don’t leap to cut them down. Instead, talk to the tree specialists in your area about potentially transplanting these trees. This way, you can save the beauty already in your yard while also protecting your foundation.
  • Test The Depth Of Your Foundation – You may also want to talk to a professional in your area about a foundation assessment. If you live in an older home, your foundation may be shallower than is reasonable. If this is the case, you can discuss whether it’ll be worth it to better secure your foundation. With that additional security, however, comes extra protection from the more invasive roots in your yard.
  • Waterproof Your Foundation – Finally, you should always consider waterproofing your foundation. While most waterproofing measures won’t keep roots away from your home, they will protect your home from shifting soil. Many of these measures will keep the water out of your home, limiting or entirely eliminating the shifting and settling that tree roots can cause.

Which Trees Have The Most Aggressive Root Systems?

If you’re still interested in landscaping your yard, don’t worry. You can readily find trees, shrubs, and hedges that won’t grow too quickly. There are, however, some tree species that you’re going to want to avoid if you want to protect your foundation. These species include but are not limited to:

  • American Elms
  • Willow Trees
  • Hybrid Poplars
  • Silver Maples 

Note that these trees don’t share a genus. With that in mind, you’ll be able to explore trees similar in appearance and species without worrying that they’ll wreck your foundation. You’ll want to talk to a representative at your local nursery, though, before committing to a specific growth.

If you are interested in planting these trees near your home, make sure they have enough space to grow. You’ll want to keep them at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home if you want your foundation to remain stable.

Are you concerned that the trees in your yard may be letting water into your home? Reach out to a professional foundation repair contractor working in the Moberly, MO, area ASAP. An experienced contractor will be able to inspect your home and offer you a free quote on any potential services.

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Lee's Summit, MO 64082
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1401 US-24
Moberly, MO 65270
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Springfield, MO 65803
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Fenton, MO 63026
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