INSIGHT

Warning: Trees Too Close to the House!

Blog Author - Ryan Tremblay
Ryan Tremblay

 Tags: Landscaping

Trees abound in the northeast. Their beauty is one of the natural features that draws people to the area and makes them want to put down roots of their own.

tree fallen on a house with caution tape, view from the roots up

There are times, though, when that abundance of trees gives homeowners pause for concern. Trees definitely can add value to homes in numerous ways. They can help conserve precious topsoil and cut down on energy costs in both summer and winter.

But trees can also pose serious problems. Extensive root systems can interfere with the functioning of septic systems and wells. Unhealthy trees can topple onto rooftops and cause considerable damage.

Where trees are concerned, the homeowner’s task is to balance the pros against the cons. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that, for the most part, trees only present serious problems—to property and to human life—if they are planted close to the house. So, if you want to play it safe, your best bet is always to keep trees at a distance.

What should you do if you think you might want to remove some of the trees around your house? We recommend contacting a professional arborist. They can help you understand your options and help you tackle any big challenges safely.

Consider the following list of potential hazards to help you with tree decisions.

  • Foundation Damage. Tree roots are powerful and water-hungry things! They can work their way through cracks in the foundation and crawl underneath a house, causing the foundation to lift up. They might also hog the available water supply, which can result in structures settling and sinking unevenly.
  • Insect and Rodent Infestations. Pesky critters, such as carpenter ants and squirrels, will use trees close to the house to gain entrance.
  • Clogged Gutters. This may seem like a minor issue, since gutters can be periodically cleaned. But if you’re not diligent about performing those kinds of maintenance chores, leaves and broken branches that accumulate in the gutters can facilitate the buildup of ice dams during the winter months.
  • Drainage Pipe Damage. Tree roots always seek out water. If there’s a leak in a drainage or sewer pipe, the roots may grow toward the water source, worm their way into the pipe, and obstruct the flow.
  • Downed Power Lines. Falling trees or branches—imagine them covered with ice at the height of a winter storm—can pull down power lines, which can lead to fires and electrocutions.

Building a house? The best time to decide about trees on your property is when you are first thinking about the land you’re going to build on! Read our blog post on things to consider when clearing your land for construction.