There’s something amazing—and special—about a tree growing on your property. In fact, you might not even be able to imagine your home without it. Trees bring much-needed personality and charm to a home, not to mention shade, clean air, and a place for birds to visit and children to play.
The roots of a tree, however, can be a different story. Pesky roots can be a real headache for homeowners, as they grow every which way in their never-ending search for water. Roots can cause sidewalks to buckle and water pipes to burst, and provide tripping hazards on your property. There are ways to deal with these stray roots. However, it becomes more difficult if the tree roots find their way under your house. There, they can wreak all sorts of havoc and leave you wondering if there’s any non-invasive way to remove them. Let us help you figure out how to get rid of tree roots under the house.
Signs of Damage Caused by Roots
In and of itself, roots growing underneath your property isn’t a bad thing. Indeed, this is just what roots do, and for a tree to be healthy, it must have a healthy root system. Roots only become a problem when they encroach upon property that already exists. Because they grow so slowly, it may be years before you even realize there’s a problem. However, you should always keep an eye out for the telltale signs of damage caused by errant tree roots.
Cracked foundations are one of the first, and most obvious, signs. If you notice cracks or fissures forming in the floor of your foundation, tree roots may be the culprit. Sometimes, however, the damage is a bit less obvious: windows will crack with seemingly no cause, door frames will become uneven, and floors will begin to buckle.
The Root of the Problem
If you notice any of the above signs or any other unusual problems with your home’s foundation that you suspect could be caused by out-of-control tree roots, you’ll need to check out if your tree is to blame. Many of these issues can have other causes as well, so you’ll need to do some digging—literally—to uncover the source of your problems.
First, pinpoint the tree that you think is the origin of the roots that you suspect are causing the problem. If you have multiple trees growing on your property, there may be multiple roots systems running amok, or there may be only one. Either way, narrow it down to one or more suspect trees and then walk from those trees to the foundation of your home. At any point between the tree and the house, you can dig downward to see if the roots are indeed growing in that direction.
Finding out how to get rid of tree roots under your house’s foundation can be a multi-faceted process. Depending on how advanced the problem has become, it may be easy or it may be extremely difficult. As with many things, prevention is key, and attempting to stop the problem before it starts can save you a great deal of effort.
Root barriers are an easy way to protect your property from out-of-control growth. There are several types of barriers available to you, each made from different materials. Some are plastic, some are metal, and some are fabric. They can come in sheets or panels. They are usually put in place at the same time as you plant the tree, in such a way that they block roots from growing in any direction you don’t want them to. This isn’t harmful to the tree in any way. The roots are simply diverted in another, safer direction.
Removing the Roots
Of course, preventing the uncontrolled growth of roots isn’t always practical. This is especially true if you weren’t the one who planted the tree. If you bought a home and there was already a tree on the property for decades prior, there may be no preventative barriers in place. In this case, you may have to actually remove the roots causing your home’s structural damage.
Cutting away roots is a challenge and doing it without harming your tree is exponentially harder. Indeed, even removing only a few of the roots can prove fatal to a tree, however hardy it may be. You’ll want to ensure that the tree is well-cared-for and well-nourished, with plenty of water to help it cope with the shock that pruning can cause.
You’ll also want to limit the number of cuttings you make at any one time. Don’t trim roots that are close to the tree or ones that are too thick (cutting anything bigger than the diameter of your fist may be harmful to the tree). Measure the tree’s diameter and only trim roots that are at least three times farther away than that number. Never remove more than one-third of a tree’s roots at a time.
Because this process can be dangerous for a tree, it’s a good idea to put it in the hands of an expert who knows how to get rid of tree roots under house foundations without harming the tree or the house. Contact Mr. Tree Services and ask their technicians to help you get the job done safely and effectively.
Removing the Tree
It’s possible the growth will have become too advanced for you to prune the roots without having to remove the entire tree. While removing a tree can be a hard decision, ultimately, if your home is at risk, you’ll do what you need to. In this case, you’ll need to have your tree service cut the tree down and remove it from your property. They can also grind and remove the stump. Larger roots can then be dug out, while smaller ones can be allowed to decompose back into the soil. Your tree service can also help you when it comes to planting a new tree on the property.