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Is That Tree Too Close to My House?

Whether the branches are now fond of peeking through your window panes, or the roots have outspread enough to obstruct the foundation of your home – in either case, that small tree is not so small anymore but has grown super close to your home! To keep it from damaging your home, you might want to prune it or even remove it. However, giving some thought to the tree type and its traits can bring to light some distinctions and options before you resort to the removal of the tree as a whole.

Is a tree too close to my house's foundation?

tree foundation

Normally, a tree should be planted at a distance of at least 10 to 15 feet from the foundation of a home. For overstory species such as those that grow up and above 60 feet, this distance should be scaled up to 20 feet from the foundation of your home.

The distance to be kept in mind while planting trees highly depends upon the tree type. For instance, trees with invasive and aggressive roots should only be allowed to thrive in wide-open spaces to avoid any foundational damages to the landscape. Also, planting such trees in a well-drained and irrigated soil will help them grow deep in the ground rather than moving sideways.

Larger trees are even riskier as their branches hang over the roof. These widespread branches not only clog rain gutters and pipes with their leaves, twigs, and debris but during strong winds, they can cause grave damage to the roofing too. On the other hand, self-pruning trees like the Eucalyptus can bring on irreparable damages to neighboring properties as their branches fall onto them.

It is therefore crucial to analyze the tree type, species, root type, growing habits, and all other potential issues associated with its maturity before you plant it in your yard.

Did you know? Tree roots are always attracted to a well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients and moisture. The soil around a property's foundation is typically dry, nutrient-deficient, and unattractive. In such a state, any leaked underground sewage pipes can make the soil very attractive for roots. Make sure to keep check on all your sewage lines, and if damaged, fix them promptly.

Tree roots grow away from the trunk

tree roots

In order to protect your home and foundation, you need to understand how tree roots essentially grow. An easy way to have a rough estimate of the reach of tree roots is to measure the diameter of the trunk at chest height (about 4.5 feet above the ground). For each inch of diameter, expect the roots to grow about a foot and a half away from the trunk.

That being said, if a tree bears a trunk having an 8-inch wide diameter, its roots are expected to grow as long as 12 feet in any direction.

Tree roots need water

water tree

As much as the life of a tree depends upon its species and external conditions, it depends upon the ability of its roots to find a water source. For instance, an Aspen Tree has invasive roots that will grow all the way under and around in ground structures, whether those are foundation walls or concrete blocks.

Trimming tree roots

Tree Roots

Before you go trimming the roots of your tree, call in a tree a service to analyze the situation and suggest the best solution. Cutting off the larger roots can invite infestations and root diseases. On the other hand, cutting away the smaller roots will keep them from growing back faster.

Furthermore, if the tree roots have already sneaked peeked beneath your driveway or sidewalk, they are now a part of the tree's structural strength. Removing those will weaken your tree, and with the next storm, it might tumble over.

Planting, trimming & pruning your tree

planting trees

Proper and regular trimming or pruning your tree can help save damage caused by its widespread branches peeking, obstructing, or falling onto your home. Knowing the mature size of your tree should help you determine the stage of growth it has only reached, how much more growth can be expected, and that what steps should be taken to cater to it.

While determining the distance to maintain from your home while planting a tree, the following aspects must be considered:

  • Small Trees: Trees that mature up to a height of only 30 feet should be planted at a distance of at least 10 feet from the neighboring landscape structures.
  • Medium-Sized Trees: Trees that are expected to grow up to a height of 70 feet should be planted at a distance of at least 15 feet from your property or any other fixed structure.
  • Large Trees: Trees that attain a height above 70 feet should be allowed an orbit of no less than twenty feet.
  • Canopy Size Trees: Not only the tree height but the size of the canopy at maturity must also be considered while planting a tree. Canopies having an average diameter of 20 feet should be allowed a minimum distance of 10 feet from any surrounding objects to let the tree grow to its full size.

Tree root removal

tree removal

Without careful consideration, cutting the roots or over-pruning the roots can deteriorate the health of your tree or, at worst, cause it to die. This often happens with a tree toppling over during a storm or earthquake. This not only brings you the loss of a tree but may also cause severe structural damage to your property. In the case of a residential area, this can be extremely dangerous.

Seek help from a tree service and gauge the state of your tree, identify any potential problems, and pursue expert advice for trimming, pruning, or removal solutions.

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