When you picture the perfect home, you probably picture at least one beautiful tree in the front or back yard. They may be a mainstay of home landscaping, but how can trees affect your home?
Branches and Your Roof
The most visible dangers of a tree to your roof are the branches. While overhanging branches provide shade for your home, they can fall without warning. Falling branches can damage the roof, especially the shingles. You should hire a professional to remove any branches that lean on or touch the roof.
Overlooking leaning branches is common. When a branch is touching the roof, it causes damage over time, and when there are high winds, a leaning branch can cause considerable damage. If any tree branches are touching your roof—or they could touch your roof on a windy day they need to be trimmed or removed.
A tree’s leaves can also cause problems with your roof by clogging up your gutters. When gutters are blocked, the water has to go somewhere, and it can seep into your roof or attic, causing substantial water damage. An often-overlooked problem comes from leaves sitting on the roof. When leaves sit on the roof, the moisture can cause mold to grow, which will damage your roof.
Roots and Your Foundation
When considering the ways a tree can damage a foundation, most people think about the roots burrowing into the foundation. After all, large roots can crack a sidewalk or driveway. But the biggest root threat to your foundation is subsidence.
Subsidence is the process of soil drying up and shrinking, which usually occurs during a dry spell. The roots of a tree will leech all the moisture out of the soil, making the problem much more severe. When this happens near your foundation, it causes the foundation to crack. Damage can show up as cracks around doors or windows. The cracks will be wider at the top than the bottom. Subsidence damage can also cause doors or windows to stick.
It’s easy to know if subsidence is taking place. Has a gap formed between the soil and your home’s foundation? Then you need to water your foundation. There are several ways to do this. If you have plants around your home, keep them watered. Shrubs and other decorative plants can provide shade, preventing evaporation. Keeping 2 to 4 inches of mulch under the plants will also help the soil maintain its moisture.
Whether you have plants around your foundation or not, you can use a soaker hose to keep the area watered. If you have watering restrictions in your area, sometimes drip irrigation is exempt. You can purchase a drip irrigation system for your faucet at your local hardware store. Hoses can be put on a shut-off timer to make the job easier.
Benefits of Trees
While there are some things to watch for and take care of when it comes to trees around your home, there is also some very real benefit. Good landscaping, including trees, can increase the value of a home up to 20 percent. Trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 30 percent and lower the cost of heating anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.
The key to enjoying trees and avoiding the headache is proper placement and care. Consult with a professional so that trees are the correct distance from your home. Keep branches trimmed and remove any branches that could cause damage your roof. And when it gets hot outside, keep an eye on the soil and water your foundation.
At WCA, we can beautifully design your new home or remodel and ensure that each detail is thought through and implemented with care. We will make sure that everything down to your landscape is perfect!