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The Damage Trees Can Inflict On Your Foundation

The Damage Trees Can Inflict On Your Foundation

Ten years ago, that new tree you planted looked great, didn’t it? But now, you sometimes feel that same tree is attacking your house. It’s really close to your house. The roots are sticking up out of the ground and tunneling under your house.

The Damage Trees Can Inflict On Your Foundation

Trees can cause lots of different types of foundation damage. Even if the roots are not growing near your foundation, the roots of large trees soak up a lot of water. Unfortunately, that dries out the soil around your home and over time, causes foundation damage.

Trees + Water + Foundation = Bad

Trees use a lot of water. On a hot summer day, some trees can use as much as 15 gallons every hour. It’s incredible! A large oak tree can draw 50 gallons of water every day. There are high water demand trees, as well as low water demand trees, so if you’re thinking of doing some spring planting, here are some tips. Plant conifers like cedar, pines and spruce or other trees like beech and birch; all are low water demand. High demand trees are oaks, maples (especially Manitoba and silver varieties) willows and elms. If you have any of these large and established high demand trees anywhere close to your foundation,  that might spell trouble. Even moderate water demand trees like maples (sugar and red), ash or cherry can create foundation issues, particularly in hot weather. Because of the moisture taken away by the tree, your foundation can settle on one side but not on the other. The concrete may crack and even collapse without the soil support underneath.

How to Prevent Foundation Damage from Trees

Of course, it’s always best to not plant next to your foundation. But if that is unavoidable, use soaker hoses around the foundation to keep the soil moist. It means a bit higher water bill, but that pales in comparison to what a foundation repair might cost. You might even consider removing landscaping or cutting down any problematic trees. You can also have tree root barricades installed to stop roots from growing into the foundation. They'll typically be installed about five feet away from the foundation for trees that are within 20 to 30 feet of your house.

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