roots breaking up concrete driveway

In short – Yes, tree roots can damage a house foundation by growing into it, especially in loose and mulched soils.

Tree roots are opportunistic and will seek out areas where it is easier to grow, such as loose or friable soils and mulch. If these conditions exist near a house foundation, tree roots can penetrate and potentially damage the foundation over time. It’s important to be mindful of the proximity of trees to the foundation and take appropriate measures to prevent root intrusion, such as proper tree placement and maintaining a suitable distance between trees and the house.

Key Takeaways

Planting trees near your home’s foundation can lead to damaging root growth, putting your foundation at risk.

Without proper planning and precautions, the roots of trees in close proximity to your home can infiltrate the foundation, causing structural damage and costly repairs. Don’t let your beautiful yard become a threat to the stability of your home.

Safeguard your foundation by strategically selecting tree locations and maintaining a safe distance from the house. Consult with professionals to determine the appropriate tree species and planting techniques that minimize the risk of root damage. With careful consideration, you can enjoy the aesthetic benefits of trees without compromising the structural integrity of your home.

How Do Tree Roots Damage Property?

overgrown tree roots damaging property

Tree roots can damage property by exploiting breaches or cracks in solid surfaces such as pipes, sidewalks, curbs, and foundations. When roots encounter these structures, they are typically redirected laterally or upwards. However, if there is a nearby breach or crack, the roots can and will exploit those openings in search of moisture. This can lead to further damage and potential issues with the affected property.

What Sort of Damage to Structure Can Tree Roots Do?

The insatiable thirst of tree roots can lead to significant structural issues. Even the most delicate roots have the potential to wreak havoc as they relentlessly search for moisture and nutrients. To illustrate the dangers of unchecked root growth, here are several examples of structural damage caused by tree roots:

Soil Movement

Because the stability of the foundation depends on the surrounding soil, as roots spread out or the soil’s moisture content drops, the foundation begins to settle and becomes unstable.

Weather Variations

The foundational damage may also be influenced by the weather. If clay soil dries out during droughts, roots may contract, and during times of intense rain, they may expand by soaking up water. Due to the gaps they cause below the surface, these variations might harm the structure of the land.

Cement Buckling

Support beams, walls, and ceilings all become uneven when the soil moves. Even though concrete settling isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can nonetheless harm an older house’s basic structural integrity.

Pipe Breakage

If there are any leaks, roots may target your home’s sewer connection in their quest for water. In order to gain access to the flow of water and nutrients, roots may penetrate your plumbing if they discover hair-thin fractures in the plumbing line.

Tree Root Damage to Your Foundation: Warning Signs

There are a few obvious indicators that your foundation is in danger from tree roots. Observe the following things:

Damage to the Foundation Near a Tree

Your foundation floor and walls will be covered in cracks, especially on the side that gets the most sunlight.

The improper tree can damage foundations, patios, and even asphalt surface. Find out how each tree and shrub on your property affects the nearby environment and buildings by identifying them.

As a result of the tree sucking moisture from the earth, which creates room for the foundation to shift or collapse, you can also notice that your house leans towards a tree.

Concrete Surface with Buckling

The roots will find their way to allow sections of the pavement to stick up and buckle when concrete pavers or sidewalks crack, which could result in a tripping hazard.

Plumbing Problems

You can notice fluctuations in water pressure or clogged drains that are resistant to the use of a plunger, drain cleaner, or other methods of cleaning.

How to Prevent Tree Damage to Foundation

There are a few things you can do to stop tree roots from destroying your foundation if you want to maintain the advantages of trees without sacrificing the basis of your home.

Place Trees Safe Distances Apart

As a general guideline, stay away from planting any trees less than 10 feet from a home’s foundation. If you really must plant invasive trees, keep them at least 25 to 50 feet away from your foundation.

Put up a foundation wall

Before you plant trees, put up foundation barriers that can route roots deeper into the ground and away from paving, pipes, and foundations. They typically consist of overlapping layers of plastic that work to divert roots from the foundation.

Select the Best Trees for Planting

You should choose slowly growing trees without invasive root systems to place near your house.

Silver maples, willows, and elms should not be planted unless you have a sizable yard. Choose manageable-sized trees like olive trees, English holly, or Australian willow that will provide shade without weakening your foundation.

Maintain an Equal Moisture Content

There is little possibility that nearby trees will cause issues if you properly water them.

While it’s crucial for water to drain away from your foundation, it’s just as crucial to keep the soil moist to continually fend off soil shrinkage. Using a drip hose to regularly water trees within 20 to 30 feet of your home can provide moisture gradually and guarantee even hydration.

Repairing Root Damage

Fortunately, if tree roots have damaged your home’s foundation, there are solutions to fix it. What you should do is:

Root and tree pruning

In many circumstances, if your tree grows onto your foundation or sewer system, you don’t have to cut it down. Call a tree-trimming specialist instead to check the affected area of the tree and possibly remove it.

Hire a Professional to Fix Your Foundation

Imagine that you’ve noticed cracks or damage to your foundation or that you’re worried about tree roots spreading close to your home. In that case, you may want to engage a reputable foundation repair business to examine the foundation of your house and check for any potential damage.

Fix Plumbing Leaks

Tree roots may receive moisture from the soil as a result of a plumbing drain leak. Drains with weak joints or seals are vulnerable to invasion by roots.

Call a plumber to fix the pipe and install root barriers if a tree root has already damaged your plumbing system. This will stop further damage.

Get rid of the problematic tree

Looking for tree services in the LA area? We provide comprehensive tree care services in the following areas:

Even if it’s sometimes the best option, it can be difficult to part with a lovely tree. The last line of defense to safeguard your foundation would be to cut down the tree and its root system.

For this task, it is preferable to contact a local tree removal specialist and arborists because tree removal can be risky and may result in property damage.

If you have a palm tree that you’d like to prune yourself, check out our detailed guide on how to safely prune palm trees.