Planting Trees and Foundation Damage

Planting Trees and Foundation Damage.

Thinking of planting a tree this spring? Would you like to keep it from cracking your residence foundations? Follow these tips...

Most people think the principal reason a tree can damage foundations is related to the root system pushing and mechanically damage the foundation’s slab. While that can happen, and we have witnessed it in the Dallas area, a much more frequent issue is brought by how the tree affects the moisture content of the ground.

It is well documented and explained how the expansive soil of the Dallas region (and a good chunk of Texas) are the root cause of most of the foundation problems in the area... forgive the pun.

Expansive soils shrink and expand greatly depending on the moisture content in the ground. This is were a large tree can have a tremendous effect on the ground’s moisture content. Some trees will use and suck up up to 200 gallons of water each day!

Trees and Foundation Problems

Since nobody can deny the beauty of mature trees around the house, surely there must be a way to compromise and have trees without destroying your foundations...

Plant the tree away enough from the house. How far? At east, twice the projected height of the fully grown tree and even further if possible. Tree roots can grow between 2-3 times the edge (drip line) of the tree branches, so you can see how easy it is to have a pretty heavy root system under the house foundation.

In addition to foundation damage, a dense root system can also damage the plumbing around the house and cause leaks and blockages. If the roots cause a slow leak, the leak itself, if near or under the slab, will cause the foundation slab to heave.

Also, consider installing a root barrier system between the tree and the house. This will greatly help prevent the roots from getting to close or under the slab. We have a blog page about root barriers.

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