Can Trees Damage Your Foundation?

foundation damage from tree roots

When you first move into a new home or build your house from scratch, you might not give the area’s trees much thought. These trees, however, can do more than offer you a bit of shade on a summer’s day. If you’re not careful, trees that are too close to your home can put the structural stability of your foundation at risk.

Can Tree Roots Damage Your Foundation?

Tree roots are far more active than you may believe. Not only are they gathering nutrients for the trees in your yard, but they’re also constantly growing. A tree’s roots can grow to be the same size as its canopy, if not larger. As such, most trees need plenty of room to grow.

Unfortunately, some homeowners will plant trees a little too close to the perimeters of their homes. When this happens, a tree’s roots can grow toward your foundation to the point where the two forces butt up against each other.

Now, tree roots won’t grow into your home. They will, however, cause the soil beneath and around your foundation to shift. In doing so, that soil will leave behind gaps that your foundation can sink and settle into. This puts your foundation are a higher risk for cracks and other forms of damage.

It is in this way that a tree’s roots can damage your foundation. As such, you need to be careful when determining what trees you want to plant around your home and just how close you want those trees to be.

Protecting Your Home from Tree Roots

Whether you’re landscaping a new property or modifying work that’s already been done, there are ways to protect your foundation from invasive tree roots. Some of the best ways to work with your lawn instead of against it include:

  • Choosing your trees wisely – Some trees have more invasive root systems than others. You can consult one of the professionals at your local nursery to determine which trees you’ll want to avoid when re-landscaping your lawn. That said, if you don’t want to avoid planting any manner of trees, you can always work to keep trees at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home.
  • Transplanting larger trees – If you’re moving onto a plot that already has trees close to your home’s perimeter, don’t give up hope. You can talk to the professionals in your area about transplanting these trees. By moving larger trees to another part of your lawn, you preserve their beauty while also looking out for your foundation. Unfortunately, it’s not always viable to transplant a larger tree. If you do have to remove a tree from your property, make sure the job is thoroughly done and that you have the stump and tree roots removed when the rest of the tree goes. If you don’t, those roots may continue to move, even without the tree to gather nutrients for.
  • Testing the depth of your foundation – Older homes tend to have shallower foundations than newer homes. With this in mind, you’ll want to determine your foundation’s depth – and thereby its likelihood of falling victim to tree root damage. You can reach out to the professional basement and foundation repair professionals in the Cleveland area for a home inspection that’ll give you this information and more about the state of your home.
  • Waterproofing your foundation – When in doubt, it’s a safe bet to invest in home waterproofing measures. When you waterproof your home, you limit tree roots’ ability to let water come into contact with your foundation or basement. As such, you can prevent the build-up of hydrostatic pressure around your foundation, which, if left unchecked, could amplify the damage already done by your shifting soil.

Trees to Avoid Planting Near Your Yard

As mentioned, there are some trees that have more invasive root systems than others. These trees include but are not limited to:

  • American elms
  • Willow trees
  • Hybrid poplars
  • Silver maples

Do note that these trees do not share a genus. If you do want to plant a tree in your yard that mirrors these trees’ beauty, you can speak with a representative at your local nursery to determine which of their cousins may best suit your climate.

Don’t let Mother Nature get the best of your foundation. Reach out to the basement and foundation repair experts at Ohio Basement Systems for a home inspection and a free quote on the services that can protect your home from invasive root systems.