Can Tree Roots Damage Your Foundation?

can tree roots damage foundation

Can tree roots damage a foundation? Yes, they can, and in this post, Gutierrez & Sons Tree Services and Landscaping, Gardena’s emergency tree service, how. They’ll also explain how to deal with an invasive root system without causing extensive damage

What Trees Shouldn’t You Plant Near a House

You should avoid trees with aggressive root systems that grow outward rather than those with a taproot system: 

  • Hybrid Poplars grow faster than normal by design. They also have a short lifespan of around 15 years. 
  • Willow trees have extensive root systems that seek out water sources. Therefore, they’re a danger to plumbing, sewer lines, and irrigation systems. The roots are close to the surface. 
  • American elms also endanger plumbing and sewer lines. They require a lot of moisture, sucking the soil dry. If they make their way under the foundation, they absorb the water leaving patches of dry earth that will sink. 
  • Silver Maples have a shallow root system that often pushes up sidewalks and other structures. The roots also take up more room than many other species, making it difficult for anything else to grow in the area. 
  • Other trees to avoid include Oak, Pine, White Ash, Aspen, and Cottonwood. 

How to Prevent Foundational Damage

Your best defense is to plant trees with aggressive root systems at least 25 to 50 feet away from structures. You can plant other trees at least ten feet away.

For existing trees, you can trim the roots to keep them in order. You can also put a barrier in place to bar the way for the roots. You can make the barrier out of concrete or metal. 

If you’re unsure what to do, consult a professional team of arborists.   

The only other alternative is tree removal. While this is a last resort, it’s worthwhile if it prevents foundational problems. It may prove tricky to remove the tree if the roots already extend under the house. 

If so, professionals can help you complete the task effectively and safely. 

How Tree Roots Damage Your Foundation

How can tree roots damage a foundation? There are a couple of ways:

  • Direct damage occurs when the roots come into contact with the foundation’s wall. The roots will push through the concrete, cracking it and causing it to crumble. The pressure the roots apply to the walls undermines their strength, with things getting worse as the roots grow bigger. 
  • Indirect damage occurs when the roots change the soil structure. Contractors compact the soil before they pour the foundation. When the roots start to tunnel in, they absorb moisture and then die and decompose. This leaves voids that will cause the building to settle. 

Contact the Professionals 

Now that you know the answer to “Can tree roots damage a foundation?” is “yes,” it’s time to establish if you have a tree emergency. Call Gutierrez & Sons Tree Services and Landscaping at (310) 324-6593 to schedule a consultation in Gardena, CA, or the surrounding areas. Our team will find the best solution and help you enact it. 

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