Keep Away From Cracks: Planting Smart to Protect Your Foundation

Keep Away From Cracks: Planting Smart to Protect Your Foundation

Trees contribute to the beauty of the landscaping around your home and can be an essential source of shade. Adding new trees is a wonderful way to improve the appearance and value of your property. Unfortunately, not all trees and shrubs should be planted close to your home. Knowing which trees are the most likely to cause foundation damage is essential. After all, planting smart today is the best way to prevent costly foundation problems in the future.

Understanding How Trees Affect Your Foundation

Many Indiana homeowners have heard horror stories about vicious trees that uproot sidewalks and cause terrible cracks in foundations. While reports of damage caused by tree roots are sometimes exaggerated, it’s important to remember that you do run real risks when planting trees near your building’s foundation or close to sewer lines. While damage is sometimes caused by the roots of very large, old trees putting pressure on a home’s foundation, it’s more likely that your home will suffer from tree-related damage due to soil moisture problems.

House with trees and shrubsDuring dry periods, tree roots can draw too much moisture from the soil, causing soil shrinkage and shifting. As the soil beneath and around your foundation shrinks, the balance of your home may be thrown off. Cracking may be present in your foundation itself or you may find cracks around your doors and windows. Problems with soil shrinkage are especially serious around older homes whose foundations are shallower than modern ones. If you live in an older home, it’s a good idea to have a professional assess your foundation before you plant any new trees or shrubs.

Choosing the Right Trees & Shrubs for Your Home

Enhancing your landscape and protecting your home from foundation damage is easy when you take time to choose the right trees and shrubs for your home. As you shop for trees, look for those that are described as sewer safe. These types of trees have minimally invasive root systems and aren’t likely to grow so quickly that they’ll cause structural damage.

Among the most popular sewer-safe selections are Dogwoods, shrubs or small trees with minimally aggressive root systems that boast beautiful, flowering foliage. Other good selections include:

• Japanese Maples
• Carolina Buckthorn
• Boxwood trees
• Blue Atlas Cedar
• Chinese and Japanese Plum Yews
• Quince
• Some Magnolias and Crabapples

Of course, it’s also important to know what trees to avoid. Avoid planting the following close to your home or sewer lines:

• Ash
• Sycamore
• Willow
• Elm
• Birch
• Mulberry
• Fig
• Beech

Taking time to choose the right trees and shrubs for your home is a great way to protect your foundation while increasing property value. If you need to have your foundation assessed before planting or are concerned that trees have already caused damage, make an appointment with the experienced pros at Ram Jack of Indiana.