Having trees surrounding your home can definitely be advantageous for you and your family. Trees provide shade, give out oxygen, bear fruit, and add beauty to your home. Trees are also important in maintaining sustainable and healthier communities as they help improve air quality by absorbing pollutants.
According to several real estate studies, a well-planted tree can even increase the value of your property from 5-20%. With all the amazing benefits of having trees, it is no wonder why many homeowners are choosing to plant trees around their home.
Ways trees can unexpectedly damage your home
What many people do not realize is that planting a tree is not as easy as digging a hole and putting in a sapling or a young tree. Aside from learning how to properly care for trees, you also have to take into consideration many different factors relating to your property. This is because if you thoughtlessly plant a tree in your garden, this seemingly brilliant idea could turn into a disaster as it could damage your home.
Here are the different ways trees can cause property damage.
The root systems of trees can trigger potential damage to your home’s foundation and structural integrity because they affect the condition of the soil your house is built on. The roots can cause concrete to shift and crack. The walls of your house could rise or sink, the support beams may shift, and your ceilings may become uneven. This could be dangerous especially for older homes that have shallow foundations.
The common reason why this happens is because many homeowners are not aware that the tree they are planting have root systems that could grow laterally to the distance equal to the height of the tree. This means that the roots can extend way beyond the trees’ canopy, leaves, and branches. The root systems could also intermingle with the roots of surrounding trees.
Before deciding on the type of tree to plant, you have to make sure that you are planting it at a suitable distance to your home to avoid potential damage. Research the size of the tree when fully grown, its growth habits, and how aggressive its root systems are. Because it takes time for trees to grow, many homeowners are not aware of the problem until years after, when it is already too late. Fixing this problem either by relocating or removing the tree can be challenging and costly.
To avoid this problem from happening, it is best to consult with a professional like a landscape architect. A landscape architect is a type of architect that specialises in horticulture who can help you determine the types of trees and greenery suitable to your property. More importantly, landscape architects can give you advice on the correct position on where to plant a certain type of tree. Getting professional advice could potentially save you from a lot of problems and money in the future. You can learn more about landscape architects and other types of architects here.
Damage to walkways, sidewalks, patio, driveways and other structures
Root systems could also creep under your home’s walkways and driveways, as well as other hardscapes around your home. When roots grow, they could climb farther and increase in diameter. The pressure from the roots can cause the concrete or the hardscape to lift and crack.
This problem is again caused by many homeowners underestimating how wide a tree’s root systems can grow. For homeowners who have a landscaped garden with specially designed walkways and patios, fixing this issue could cost a lot of money especially if they have to re-do the construction all over again. If the damage occurs in sidewalks and driveways, cracks can even be dangerous and may cause accidents.
If the roots of your trees extend outside your property and infringe on your neighbours’ land, this could cause a larger problem. This could result in disputes and you may even find yourself paying your neighbours to fix the problem.
Damage to drainage or pools
Just like how the roots of trees could grow under your house or other concrete surfaces, it is also possible for tree roots to creep into sewer pipes and drainage. This can cause drainage and plumbing issues in your property. Older pipes are more susceptible to damage as they can crack even with minor soil displacement. Tree roots could move into the pipe’s openings and could clog your plumbing.
If you have a swimming pool in your house, it is also possible for root systems to damage your pool walls and pool plumbing. While planting a tree near a pool can provide shade from the sun, it also means that more debris could fall into your pool.
While these problems can be remedied, many homeowners are often unaware that this is what’s happening and causing the problem. You would have to hire plumbing specialists to see whether this is a problem and pay for it to be fixed.
Damage to windows, walls, and roof
If you plant a tree too close to your house, it will not only risk your house’s foundation but it could also cause potential damage to your home’s walls, windows, and roof. Tree branches can scrape and scratch your roof. The tree could also leave debris on your roof like falling branches, leaves, nuts, pinecones, etc. that could rot and decay. When this happens, this could damage your roof’s protective material as it could result in mould or mildew. Additionally, these debris can also clog your gutters.
If you have a tree with large branches, this could fall on your roof especially during bad weather conditions. Heavy branches can place unwanted weight on your roof. Branches can also extend and poke into your walls and windows.
Think before you plant
Trees can be a great addition to your home. They add a lush visual element and at the same time, they provide healthful and environmental benefits. It is, however, very important to research and plan before deciding on planting a tree. Keep in mind that impulsively planting a tree could compromise your home in the future.