How to Get Rid of Tree Roots Under a House

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Trees are part of the lifeblood of the planet, and as you have probably heard many times, the lungs of the world.

They add incredible beauty to landscapes, and gardens alike. They can add value in more ways than perhaps people appreciate, including helping the local ecosystem.

They raise property values, and help lower temperatures in their vicinity, leading to lower cooling expenditure for households.

However, no matter how beautiful and useful they are, they need a certain amount of care to prosper. Tree surgeons and arborists exist because trees are susceptible to disease and sometimes suffer damage.

But, what about the damage trees can cause to the property around them? It is a simple fact that your tree could cause problems if you don’t take care of it.

How Do You Know If Your Tree is Going to Cause Problems?

Some indications that you have a problem with a tree on your property can be obvious. If you have had a bad storm, for instance, there may be physical damage to the tree.

Storm damage is important to attend to. Damaged limbs can prevent a genuine hazard, and cause harm to people and property.

Then there are the less obvious problems. If your tree has a disease for example, then perhaps you won’t notice it. Or perhaps you have, but you are unsure of what it is.

It is always worth getting an expert’s opinion on your tree problem in these circumstances. It could save the tree, money, and possibly you and your family from harm.

Another concern is the tree roots. Trees need strong roots to be healthy and develop, but those same roots can cause problems throughout the garden, any nearby property, and other local areas.

What Damage Can Tree Roots Do?

Tree roots can cause tremendous damage throughout their vicinity. Although the majority of the time there should be no issue, sometimes they are planted too close to areas where they can cause problems.

You may have heard of tree roots damaging pipework, sidewalks, or pathways before. Not all of the things you have heard are necessarily true.

Tree roots will not actually puncture your sewer lines or pipework. You can rest assured that your trees aren’t actively trying to cause havoc under your lawn.

Yet, if there are cracks and leaks in said pipework, roots will be attracted towards the mixture of water and air, plus nutrients in that area and then they may invade the pipework.

Pavements and sidewalks are different. Tree roots can cause a lot of damage and create tripping hazards here. Although the reason for this is likely the wrong choice of a tree being planted.

With foundations, it is a similar case as with sewer pipes. Roots don’t create openings, but they will exploit them. When wondering what causes foundation damage to your home, it isn’t totally the tree root.

How Do You Spot Tree Root Damage To Your Foundation?

Tree roots won’t enter your foundations unless there is already a gap for them to do so. In some ways, the tree can help to pinpoint that you have an issue.

Nevertheless, they will continue to do substantial damage unless stopped.

The first time you notice that you have foundation damage may be after the tree roots have already entered:

  • Vertical cracks in the foundation walls
  • Other exterior cracks
  • Cracked windows
  • Cracked tiles
  • Rotten wood in beams and flooring
  • Uneven doors and window frames
  • Weeds growing around foundation
  • Warped sidings

In fact, there are even more signs that you might have issues with your foundations.

But, if you spot any of these, it may mean there is some foundation damage. It may also mean that you have tree roots growing into those foundation cracks.

Home Advisor reports that foundation damage can cost up to $7,450 to repair. This then is clearly not to be ignored.

Add onto this the cost of repairing window frames, sidings, and replacing water-damaged flooring, foundation damage can be a costly business.

Therefore, if roots are making their way into your foundations, they need to be removed.

How Do You Get Rid of Tree Roots Growing Under Your Home?

Ideally, the problem would have been considered when the tree was planted and it would have been prevented.

 This can be done by ensuring the tree you plant isn’t too close to the home. By choosing the right kind of tree; some grow bigger roots than others.

And, by using barriers to prevent the roots from growing towards the property.

Most likely though, the tree was already planted when you brought your home. Thus, the only solution will be to remove the roots.

Removing the Roots Yourself

To try and remove the root yourself will take a little work, and some care. First, you will need to trace the root to the home, then dig out all the soil around it.

Once the root is clearly exposed and you can see where it enters the foundation, you will need to cut through it. You can then remove the root from the crack in the foundation.

To prevent further invasion, a preventative barrier needs to be put back in place before the soil is returned to fill in the hole.

There are a number of concerns with taking on this task alone. If tree roots are cut or damaged, it can harm and kill the tree.

There is also the risk of damaging underground cables and pipes unless you know their locations.

Call in the Experts

Tree surgeons are trained to care for these plants and will know how to remove the routes precisely so that no harm comes to the tree.

They can also assess whether the tree needs removing. It may not be a simple case of cutting off a few offending roots.

The tree may have grown too much towards the property to be able to leave it in the ground. In this case, the whole tree will need to be removed.

Is It Safe to Carry Out Tree Care Yourself?

Trees certainly give the world a lot of pleasure, but they do need your care too. Branches growing near power lines need to be cut back.

Diseases need to be identified, and cured, or at worst, the tree removed. Dead and dying trees can present hazards, and storm damage needs to be addressed.

While many simple areas of tree care can be carried out, some things are worth calling in the experts for. The TCIA held a five-year analysis on accidents and deaths caused by tree care. Many of these accidents were from falling branches, or from falls while pruning.

Summary

Prevention is the favored option with tree roots and foundation damage. Yet, most people won’t get the chance of this option as their trees were likely planted years before they moved into their home.

If you start to notice external cracks or other signs of foundation damage, don’t wait to search for the problem.

Realizing you have foundation damage early may mean you can prevent your tree roots from causing more.

If your roots have already entered the foundation then you can try removing them yourself, or perhaps better still, call in a tree surgeon for their opinion.

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