How To Prevent Roots From Growing Under Your House

October 20, 2023
How To Prevent Roots From Growing Under Your House

Imagine waking up one morning to discover cracks in your walls or an uneven foundation beneath your feet. Horror-stricken, you realize the cause: tree roots have invaded your property and are wreaking havoc beneath your beloved home. While this scenario may sound like something out of a horror movie, it’s a real-life problem that homeowners in the Phoenix area could be facing. If you want to know how to prevent roots from growing under your house, these tips will help you protect your property and avoid potential damage.

What Causes Roots To Grow Under a Home?

The primary cause of tree roots growing under homes is the search for water. As trees grow, their root systems expand, and these systems can travel long distances. Soil moisture levels have a significant influence on the direction of root growth; roots will preferentially grow toward moister soil. In the Phoenix area, the intense heat and dry conditions lead trees to seek out water sources wherever they can find them.

In a yard with well-tended grass and irrigation systems, tree roots grow toward the home because of the water typically available in the soil from plumbing systems. If the plumbing has leaks or if watering schedules consistently moisten the area near the home’s foundation, it can also encourage root growth in that direction.

Additionally, tree roots can take advantage of construction pockets and trenches where soil has been disturbed. These areas often have looser soil, which is easier for roots to penetrate and can lead indirectly to root intrusion under your house.

What Kind of Damage Can Roots Cause?

As roots grow under your home, they can cause various types of damage, some of which may not be immediately evident. However, the consequences can be severe in the long run. Below are examples of the damage that roots can cause when they infiltrate the foundation of your home.

Foundation Damage

As roots push their way underneath the foundation, they can cause cracks and shifts in the structure. Over time, this damage can weaken the foundation, leading to costly repairs.

Plumbing Damage

Tree roots are notorious for infiltrating pipes and sewer lines in search of water, causing blockages and bursting pipes. This type of damage can lead to expensive plumbing repairs and costly water damage to the home’s interior.

Landscaping Damage

When roots grow under a house, they can cause damage to the surrounding landscape, which may necessitate extensive repair and restorative landscaping. The roots can also lead to soil shifting, which may cause other areas of the yard to develop issues.

Signs of Root Invasion Under Your House

Detecting root invasion in your home’s foundation can be tricky, but you can identify it with common indicators.

Cracks in Your Walls or Foundation

Cracks in your walls or foundation can be a tell-tale sign of root intrusion. As roots grow and expand, they put pressure on the foundation, causing cracks to form. These cracks may start small but can quickly widen over time if you don’t address them. If you notice any new cracks in your walls or foundation, have a professional inspect them to determine if tree roots are the cause.

Uneven Floors

As root growth causes shifts in the foundation, it can result in uneven floors inside your home. You may notice that one side of a room is slightly higher or lower than the other, or you may feel like you’re walking on an unsteady surface. This is a major sign of root intrusion you should address immediately.

Visible Tree Roots

If you have a tree near your home, keep an eye out for visible roots on the surface. This can indicate that the tree’s root system is growing toward your house and may eventually cause damage.

How To Prevent Roots From Growing Under Your House

The key to preventing root invasion lies in implementing proactive measures to ensure tree roots don’t grow too close to your home. Here are some expert tips to help you accomplish this without compromising the health of your trees.

Choose the Right Trees for Your Yard

When selecting trees for your yard, consider the size and growth patterns of the species. Some species, such as willows and poplars, have aggressive root systems that can extend far beyond the tree’s canopy. These types of trees may not be suitable for smaller yards or those with limited space between the home and property line. Instead, choose trees with slower-growing and less invasive root systems, such as maples or birches.

Plan Your Landscaping Carefully

In addition to carefully selecting trees for your yard, plan your landscaping strategically. Consider the placement of trees in relation to your home and any existing plumbing or sewer lines. Avoid planting trees too close to these vital structures; instead, leave ample space for roots to grow away from your home. You can also install barriers, such as root shields or physical barriers made of metal or plastic, to prevent roots from growing toward your house.

Regularly Monitor Your Trees

One of the most critical steps in preventing root intrusion is regular monitoring of your trees’ health and growth. Keep an eye out for signs of overgrowth, such as large root systems protruding from the ground or visible damage to your home’s foundation. If you notice any concerning changes in your trees’ behavior, consult an arborist or tree specialist for advice on how to properly manage and maintain your trees.

Now that you know how to prevent roots from growing under your house, you can take the necessary steps to protect your home’s foundation and avoid potential damage. Employing preventative measures, such as careful tree selection and strategic landscaping, can make a world of difference.

However, in some cases, tree removal might be necessary to protect your home from further harm. ArborCraft offers tree removal services in Mesa, AZ, for homeowners in need of professional assistance. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you keep your home safe and secure.

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