Going Tree-Total: A Short Guide to Trees and How they Can Damage Your Home

Trees can provide a property with a range of benefits, like shade and clean air, and can even help you to lower your energy bill when placed strategically around your home. They also serve as natural ornaments that can add value to a home. However, trees can also be a hazard, and can cause considerable damage in some situations, each of which shall be discussed here.

If you are currently thinking about purchasing a property that has trees on it, or are thinking about planting some trees around your home, make sure you consider the following before making a decision.

Insect Infestations

Trees can harbour pests. This becomes a problem if those trees are in close proximity to your house.

Whilst considering the value of a tree, also consider that:

  • Mice can gain access to your roof and windows by leaping from the upper branches of trees.
  • Garage Beetles (Box Elder Bugs) reproduce and spawn in the branches of box elder trees, ash trees and several fruit tree species. Although they are only ½ an inch long, and they don't damage homes per se, in the winter they can invade your home to escape the cold weather. Their droppings can stain fabrics, and if crushed, they leave a nasty stain as well as an unpleasant odour.
  • Stinging insects such as wasps build their nests high up in trees. Numbering anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand, you wouldn't want a wasps nest close to your home.

Overhanging Branches

Trees that have been allowed to grow to a considerable size may prove to be deadly to your house due to overhanging branches. Branches can clog up gutters with leaves, causing gutters to overflow and leave water pooled on your roof. Trees can also damage siding and the roof itself.

While it may not look like it when the weather is calm, during high winds when branches are in constant motion, they can cause considerable damage to your roof or siding.

Invasive Root Systems

Certain tree species such as willows, elms and cottonwoods, have aggressive root systems that can severely damage both the foundations of your home and its ceilings, walls and support beams. This happens because the tree roots spread out from the tree in search of moisture, and can come into close proximity with the foundation of a building if planted too close, or if the tree is a particularly fast growing species.

The roots themselves do not invade the foundation. They drain the moisture from the soil around a structure, whilst causing the soil to shift as they push through it. This gradual process eventually leads to subsidence. You can spot signs of subsidence in walls, windows, support beams and patios.

This is why it is important that you study the trees on your property, or on a property you might be interested in purchasing. While they might not be noticeable at first glance, these risks can be costly. If you spot a potential hazard on your property or one that you plan to buy, don't attempt to remove or prune the tree yourself. Contact a tree removal company for a quote. A permit may be required, and this can be attained by the tree removal service, and the tree can be safely and quickly dealt with.