When foundation problems are actually landscaping issues
Trees enhance your home’s curb appeal, but many homeowners forget that over time trees can grow many times their sapling size. Improperly planted trees bear witness to this folly, but the home’s foundation bears the brunt of a tree’s expanding root system. This can lead to extensive foundation repairs.
Types of Trees Common in Indiana Landscaping
Hardwood trees grow abundantly in Indiana. These trees include hickory, oak, walnut, ash and maple, all of which are nut bearing, non-coniferous and capable of developing an extensive yet shallow root system over time that may protrude above ground.
On the other hand, softwood trees are conifers such as pine, hemlock and cedar trees. The root system of conifers grows downward. Softwoods are not as abundant in Indiana as hardwoods.
When Roots Attack
Trees will find a way to stay alive because their roots spread out, seek water and absorb what they can from the surrounding soil. Dry soil contracts, causing the foundation slab or supports to shift. The shifting motion will manifest as cracks in the foundation. In a two-prong attack, the roots themselves may push up the foundation as they continue to grow and expand. For instance, the roots of the live oak, a common landscape feature, can spread as much as 60 feet.
How Not to Pit Your Foundation Against Tree Roots
If the trees are already in place when you plan your house, make sure to carefully note their location. You can take the trees out during the site preparation stage, or you can adjust your layout to be far enough away from growing roots. Mature hardwoods may not be that big of a problem since their roots are already established.
If the trees are being added during the landscaping and finishing stage, plant the trees at a proper distance from the structure. The correct distance between tree and structure is half the expected maximum height of the tree. Trees that are bound to grow to 40 feet should be planted 20 feet from the house. Even when you’re installing a line of trees, follow the recommended planting distances for the particular species you’re installing.
Foundation vs. Roots: A Job for Foundation Repair Experts
When you realize that the cracks in your foundation may be from the maple tree you planted by the bay window, don’t call the arborist just yet. Call the foundation repair specialists at Ram Jack of Indiana. We’ll inspect your home and walk you through the next steps to preserve the structural integrity of your foundation.