Big trees, big troubles

Many people love the look of mature, but trees on their property. They cast beautiful share, offer privacy, serve as a home to beautiful birds, offer a beautiful colorful display in the fall and are generally a good thing for our environment. Trees are wonderful for our planet but not so wonderful for our homes. Planting trees too close to a house can cause various types of damage over time. Some potential problems include:

  1. Foundation damage: The roots of trees can extend far beyond the canopy, and if they grow too close to a house, they may absorb moisture from the soil, leading to soil shrinkage. This can result in an unstable foundation and structural damage to the house.
  2. Subsidence: As tree roots absorb moisture from the soil, the soil may shrink, leading to subsidence. This can cause the ground to sink and result in uneven settling of the foundation, leading to structural issues.
  3. Cracked walls: The pressure exerted by tree roots as they expand can cause damage to the walls of nearby structures. This is especially true for older buildings with weaker foundations.
  4. Sidewalk and Driveway Damage: The roots of trees can lift and crack sidewalks and driveways, causing tripping hazards and requiring costly repairs.
  5. Blocked pipes and sewers: Tree roots are drawn to sources of water, and they may infiltrate underground pipes and sewer lines. As the roots grow, they can cause blockages and damage, leading to plumbing issues and potential costly repairs.
  6. Damage to the roof: Overhanging branches can scrape against the roof, causing physical damage. In addition, leaves and debris from overhanging branches can clog gutters, leading to water damage and potential roof leaks.
  7. Risk of falling branches: If trees are too close to a house, there is an increased risk of branches falling onto the roof during storms or high winds. This can cause immediate damage and pose a safety hazard.
  8. Gutter Issues: Leaves, twigs, and other debris from overhanging branches can clog gutters, leading to water overflow and potential water damage to the house.
  9. Pest Infestations: Dense tree branches close to the house can provide a pathway for pests, such as ants or rodents, to access the home more easily, not to mention they are a great choice for rodents, such as squirrels and raccoons, who would love to make your attic into their family home.
  10. Reduced Sunlight and Airflow: Trees close to the house may block sunlight and hinder proper airflow, potentially leading to increased moisture levels around the structure. This can create a conducive environment for mold and mildew growth and deterioration of building materials.

To prevent these issues, it’s essential to carefully plan and consider the mature size of trees before planting them near a house. Regular maintenance, such as pruning, can also help manage potential risks. If trees are already planted too close to a house, it may be best to remove them. In addition to all the issues above, large trees also have the potential to fall down during strong winds and storms causing devastating damage to homes, garages, power lines and other structures. The destruction caused by such events often result in claims with property insurance companies, extensive interior and exterior repairs and massive inconvenience and can sometimes threaten lives.

Trees that are too close to a home, are best to be removed by a professional – preferably long before they become overwhelmingly big. Many cities have restrictions on tree removal, so it is best to consult your local building department for the necessary permits and approvals needed to complete a tree removal job. Follow their guidance and hire a fully insured reputable provider to get the job done correctly. At OnPoint Construction, we partner with some of the best in the business.

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