Do You Know How Damaging Tree Roots Can Be to Your Foundation?

June 26, 2017

Your tree might be the favorite part of your yard or entire home for that matter. But did you know that your big, beautiful tree can pose a major threat to your home’s foundation? In this blog post, we will explain how tree roots can become your worst nightmare and create significant problems down the road.

How do tree roots affect the soil?

This foundation repair company explains that tree roots are very powerful regardless of size. They are constantly on the lookout for more sources of water and nutrients, hence why they extend themselves. Keep in mind that there are two main types of soil that can be impacted by tree growth. The first, clay soil, compacts easily and becomes more densely packed as tree roots push through them. However, soil that consists of loose dirt and rock usually shifts and becomes displaced, allowing roots to move through much more easily. But why does it matter whether you know the type of soil your home sits on? Well, it should tell you the kind of damage that tree roots may cause in the future.

But this isn’t the only way that trees affect the soil beneath them. It’s important to know that during droughts, roots may shrink as clay soils dry. During heavy rains, on the other hand, tree roots expand as they absorb water. In either case, the structure of the soil can be damaged.

Tree roots and foundation damage

One of the more common misconceptions among homeowners is that tree roots are the direct cause of foundational damage. In reality, it’s the changes in the soil conditions that cause the majority of the damage. We won’t get too much into it, but this often occurs in the form of concrete settling.

Steps to take to prevent damage from tree roots

It may seem like there’s no solution in sight, but there are actually a number of steps you can take to limit damage to your home’s foundation. The first is to build a root barrier. This involves having to dig all the way down to the base of your home’s foundation. With this strategy, you can also cut away approaching roots as you dig for the barrier. It sounds like anything but fun, however, remember that it’s better to be proactive in this regard versus reactive and simply hope that your home will be spared any damage from root growth.

You can still enjoy a tree in your yard while also preventing the threat of root damage. The aforementioned article mentions that a great way to do this is to choose a slow-growing tree species with less aggressive rooting tendencies. You’ll want to avoid willows, silver maples, and elm trees that tend to spread deep and feature gradual roots. It’s recommended to lean toward oak or sugar maples trees that grow at a slower pace.

Here are some other tips to consider in your prevention tactics:

  • Be sure to give plenty of thought into how large your yard is. We all appreciate trees that are large in stature but don’t go overboard here.
  • Don’t fall into the thinking that a tree will develop roots as broad as the tree is tall. In fact, a tree can develop roots that are double or triple its height.
  • Don’t try to force a large tree into your yard if space doesn’t allow it.


If you’re worried about invasive roots, it’s never a good idea to take matters into your own hands and attempt tree trimming/removal by yourself. This is often unnecessary and can even lead to tree damage or personal injury. Not to mention, tree pruning and trimming are time-consuming tasks that require the utmost skill and experience. Since 1989, Pro Tree Service has been providing professional tree care for Chicago residents. Despite countless other businesses trying to replicate our success, our tree company remains the preferred choice of customers. Not only are we fully licensed, insured, and bonded, but we also offer our Best Price Guarantee, where will beat any reasonable, written estimate by 10 percent. There are no hidden fees or gimmicks, regardless of your project.  

Land Clearing

Our team does so much more than provide tree pruning and tree trimming services. For example, do you need a large volume of trees removed in a short period of time? We are counted on to handle land clearing projects without a hitch. That could mean significant tree stump removal services, site preparation, or just a few trees to clear. When it comes to commercial land and lot clearing projects, no other company tackles it as safely and as timely as the professionals at Pro Tree. We are also proud to say that we keep these kinds of projects under budget.

How can Pro Tree Service help ensure the beauty of your yard? Contact us today to get started.

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