We all love the trees in our garden. They shade our houses in summer and provide homes for a myriad of small animals and birds. But trees can also pose a risk to your property. Most homeowners worry about trees falling on their houses during violent storms, or dead branches snapping off and being blown around in strong winds. But what about the threats you don’t see? Are you aware of the dangers that are lurking underground?
Tree roots can damage the foundations of your home, but probably not in the way that you imagine. Don’t conjure up images of roots pushing through the floorboards and invading your house like a scene from a bad horror. It is actually far more subtle than that. We are taking a closer look at how tree roots can compromise the structure of your home.
Tree roots need to be powerful. They need to feed and anchor a massive structure above the ground that is often battered by storms and strong winds, and root systems can be two to three times the height of the tree. The tree’s survival depends on the roots pushing through the soil to find a constant source of water and nutrients.
The structural integrity of your soil and property
Tree roots affect the structural integrity of the soil. Different soils react differently to roots. Clay, which compacts easily, will become more densely packed as roots pass through it. Sandy or loamy soil, on the other hand, will be displaced by the movement of the roots. In drought conditions roots may shrink as the soil dries out, causing subsidence. During heavy rain, roots may expand as they absorb water and push the soil outwards. Both these scenarios can lead to concrete shifting in buildings. For the most part, this is merely unsightly but in the worst cases, it can damage and dangerously destabilize the foundations of your home. Support beams may shift, walls will crack and ceilings can warp, severally affecting the structural integrity of the property.
Tree removal is the last resort
Having read this far, don’t rush out and chop down all your big, old trees. Tree removal is not the only answer to any potential problems. You can have beautiful trees in your garden without constantly worrying about soil subsidence and foundation damage, but you do need to manage your trees properly.
If you are concerned about the condition of your soil, and potential structural damage to your home from invasive roots, contact a qualified arborist, like Martin’s Tree Service to assess the trees on your property and advise you accordingly.