Tree roots are a more powerful landscaping force than you might think. If you’ve planted a tree too close to your home, you may rapidly find yourself dealing with unexpected foundation damage.
While tree roots won’t physically start to damage your home, they do cause the soil beneath your foundation to shift. Your foundation will settle into the spaces left behind, and in doing so, be more likely to crack and leak.
Foundation Damage: What to Look For
Your foundation and basement can begin to leak for a myriad of reasons. As such, it’s not always easy to pin the responsibility on a tree. That makes it even more important for you to carefully consider the kind of damage you’re looking at when you first detect a problem. You’ll also want to call in a Minneapolis, MN, professional to make sure your assessment is correct.
That said, there are some combinations of signs that more clearly indicate root damage than others. These include:
- A slanting or otherwise uneven foundation
- Foundation damage on the same side of your house as the tree
- Standing water in your home after a storm
- Excessive moisture in your basement
- Unusual amounts of settling
- An uneven basement floor
- Sticking door frames
The Ins and Outs of Root Removal
If roots from a nearby tree do start to impact your home’s structural integrity, never fear. There are steps you can take to remove the roots that are troubling you. Your best options include:
- Chemical root trimming – Certain herbicides are strong enough to kill off a tree’s roots upon contact. You can easily use these herbicides through your lawn or after digging out a tree’s root system. You should consider watering down these herbicides — if you’re not careful, you may do more damage to a tree than you intend to.
- Physical root trimming – Alternatively, you can physically cut into a tree’s roots and remove the ones that have grown too close to your home. You’ll want to first dig out the tree roots and then use a tool like a pickaxe to begin separating the roots from the tree. Again, you’ll want to be careful or employ the help of a professional. If you cut too many roots away from a tree, you may lose the tree in its entirety.
- Tree removal – If chemical or physical root removals can’t get rid of the roots disturbing your home, you may want to consider transplanting the tree in question. This process isn’t easy, and you may need the help of a professional, depending on the size of the tree. By removing the tree and replanting it, you can preserve the tree’s appearance while also taking steps to secure your home against water and foundation damage.
When considering how to best deal with invasive tree roots near your home, you’ll want to collaborate with foundation care experts and landscaping professionals. In doing so, you’ll be able to create a removal plan that’s good for both your home and the tree in question.
How to Prevent Root-Based Foundation Damage
If you want to keep the trees you have in your yard without compromising the structural integrity of your home, you’ll want to plan ahead. Some of the best ways to protect your foundation from tree root damage include:
- Landscaping with care – If you’re looking to prevent foundation damage, it’s best to keep larger hedges and trees at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home. You’ll also want to make an effort to avoid planting trees that have more aggressive root systems. These can include American elms, willow trees, hybrid poplars, and silver maples.
- Investing in waterproofing measures – It’s never a bad idea to waterproof your foundation and basement. Get in touch with a foundation and basement repair contractor when you first move in or build your home. With their help, you can identify any weaknesses in your support structures and more effectively invest in waterproofing measures.
- Installing root barriers – Root barriers aren’t waterproofing measures, but they’re indispensable when you want to protect your home from shifting roots. You can choose between a chemical barrier and a physical barrier and pair your option with the waterproofing measures of your choice.
Want to discuss your home waterproofing options with a professional? Reach out to the contractors working in Minneapolis, MN, for a home inspection and a free quote on home waterproofing services. With a little bit of help, you can preserve the trees in your yard and your foundation’s structural integrity.