“We have a tree that’s about 12 feet away from our house and it’s getting very large and its roots are growing towards the house and the foundation. Does it pose a danger and can we remove the root without damaging the tree?”

Will Cutting Roots Damage the Tree?

This is a common question so I thought we would address it today. Home foundations typically sit on compacted soil and because the foundation is usually made of concrete and that concrete takes years to dry, many shallow, horizontal roots can search for moisture near the foundation. As the roots remove moisture from the soil, the foundation could develop cracks in the soil below can become dry and brittle. Roots usually will not harm the foundation that you may want to remove them to prevent any additional damage to your home’s foundation.

You want to visually follow the tree root from the surface to the foundation’s edge so you can pinpoint where it meets the structure. You want to remove the soil around the root and see if the root is actually entering the foundation. If you can nip it in the bud there, no pun intended, you can cut the root off using simple garden shears. If you can cut it with hand shear,s the root is probably not going to damage the tree, but if it’s too large to cut with shears, you probably should call in an expert tree removal service.

It also depends on the age of the tree. Cutting roots to older, more mature trees can be more damaging than to young, vigorous trees. Trees roots have two major components: structural roots and feeder roots. Structural roots typically grow horizontally away from the tree. The growth center in diameter as they move away from the trunk. The roots are fibrous roots responsible for taking up water and nutrients to the rest of the tree. If you cut these roots, the chance of your tree surviving is minimal. However, it may just stunt the growth, or discolor the leaves.

The bottom line is to contact a tree service professional to get an idea of what you are dealing with first of all, and then to determine the proper steps that are needed. Give us a call if you have roots heading toward your house but you would like to keep the tree.

Read More about Root Cutting

By Christian A. Schröder (ChristianSchd) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons