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Reasons You Shouldn't Plant Trees Close to Your Home

Trees are valuable to homeowners for several reasons. Besides the obvious benefits of improving the appearance of your property and providing shade for outdoor activities, well-cared-for trees from tree service Hampton can add to the sales value of the property. They can act as privacy fences, dampen noise, and even reduce your utilities. Deciduous trees shade your home in summer, keeping your home cooler, while the loss of leaves in winter allows the sun to shine through and heat your home. However, if you are considering adding trees to your property, it’s important to choose the right types and plant them in the right places.

You may have seen homes that had trees planted too close to the house, either because the homeowners didn’t consider the tree’s eventual growth or because they didn’t remove a tree they should have when the house was built. Homeowners must be careful to take future growth into account, both above and below ground, when choosing where to plant a tree for several reasons.

exterior of house with trees

Falling branches 

This is an obvious potential problem, but it can be hard to predict just how far a tree’s branches will spread in the future. All trees have limbs that eventually die and break off during a tree’s life cycle. When they fall on your roof, they can break shingles or tiles and dent metal roofing, or even punch a hole in the roof. For this reason, some homeowner’s insurance companies have a set distance for trees around any home they insure. If you are getting a new policy, they will not insure your home if you have any trees within their perimeter. This is especially true for mobile homes. The type of trees makes a difference as well. For instance, pines have much shallower root systems than hardwoods and are more likely to fall in vicious winds.

Root system Damage 

Root systems are something most people don’t consider until they find out that a tree’s roots have started growing into your piping or into your foundation. Tree roots spread out at least to the drip line, which is the farthest reach of the branches, and some species’ roots go much farther. Certain species have roots that tend to raise partly above ground with age, causing the humped sidewalks you often see in older city neighborhoods.

Soil Moisture 

Soil moisture around trees tends to fluctuate more because of the water the tree uses. This causes the soil to expand and contract, which can cause pressure on your home’s foundation and eventually cause cracks or shifting. Having a lot of trees or plantings around your home also keeps moisture near your home, inviting algae and moss to grow on your roofing and siding. These growths can cause damage themselves.

Debris Buildup 

Leaves and twigs from a close tree will pile up against your house and under structures such as decks. These leaves will hold moisture and eventually encourage algae and mold growth on your siding and supports and the bare ground around your homes. Leaves and twigs can clog your gutters. Leaf and conifer needles on the roof keep moisture there, which can seep under your roofing eventually. Sap from some trees can cause a sticky mess on vehicles and decks.

Touching Branches 

Tree limbs all provide a conduit for moisture and a highway for insect pests. If a branch touches your home’s siding, the contact can eventually allow moisture to leach between the siding, allowing mold and mildew to form inside the walls. It also makes it easier for different insects to get underneath siding to make nests inside the walls while also damaging your trees. Any branches that touch your roof or siding should be cut off or pruned back so that they won’t grow back to touch the house again.

When looking for trees to plant, you may think that it doesn’t really matter much, as you probably won’t stay in the home long enough to see an oak tree grow to its full spread, but trees planted too close to the house can cause plenty of problems long before they reach their prime. Pay attention to the root spread of the different species. Stay away from trees with shallow root systems but also from trees with large root spreads. Planting a tree about 20 feet away looks too far away to do any good when the tree is small, but if planted in the right place, it can give you strategic shade over your air conditioner unit and deck before you know it.

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