How Tree Roots Attack Your Foundation and What You Can Do About It

How Tree Roots Attack Your Foundation and What You Can Do About It

At Ram Jack of Indiana we see all sorts of issues that damage home foundations. To keep your home safe no matter what the environment may throw at it, you’ll need to understand some of those common threats.

Trees may seem like a great feature of your property. They provide you with shade, making outdoor activities more comfortable and reducing your home’s energy consumption during the summer months. They also have plenty of aesthetic appeal, which adds to the value of your home. However, many trees can also threaten your foundation by draining water from the soil and causing it to shift.

It’s important to note that not all trees pose a threat to your foundation. Pine trees, for instance, are tap root feeders, meaning their roots extend straight down. Because there’s no root system spread out over the area surrounding the tree, pines have almost no impact on your foundation. The trees we’re concerned about are hardwoods such as oaks and elms, which have shallow roots. They’re popular because they grow quickly, and they grow quickly because they drain a lot of water from the soil, potentially causing it to shift.

If you have hardwood trees on your property, don’t panic! Trees that were already mature when your home was built aren’t likely to threaten your foundation; they had plenty of time to drain the soil before the foundation was laid, so they won’t cause it to settle further. However, if you have trees close to your home that were planted after it was constructed, they may cause foundation damage.

A few preventative measures can go a long way toward keeping your home safe from foundation issues. The more leaves a tree has, the more water it uses; thus, lowering the number of leaves will also lessen the amount of water the tree drains from the soil. Experts say that a 10% reduction in the leaf mass can lead to a 30% reduction in water consumption. Just don’t go overboard; removing too many leaves will kill the tree.

Another option is to push the tree to grow away from your home. Trim branches and exposed roots that come close to your foundation while encouraging branches that grow on the opposite side. These steps encourage the tree to seek water away from the foundation; as long as there’s water to be had out there, your home should be safe.

When planting new trees on your lot, keep them at least half of their anticipated height away from the foundation. For instance, if a tree is expected to grow to be 40 feet tall, plant it at least 20 feet away from your home. If your Carmel, IN house is threatened by tree roots or any other foundation issues, give us a call. Our foundation repair experts will step in and make sure your home is built on solid ground.