Sturdy trees might provide some shade for your garden, but their roots cause damages to foundations of buildings. Trees need survival; so, their roots penetrate towards the moisture from condensation. It’s the movement of these roots that helps the tree to get enough water and nutrients for growth. Roots also provide structural support for your trees and their obtrusion can damage buildings. Like leaves, these insidious roots grow towards undesirable positions. Some will even infiltrate the sewer system and cause sewer blockage. However, homeowners can avoid any damage from the root of tress by cutting them and following these guidelines.
What are Some Dangers of Tree Roots?
Naturally, the roots of trees become dangerous in their struggle for survival. However, roots of trees can cause accidents or deaths when there’s an external force like snow, wind, and heavy rainfall.
Wind Increases the Damage from Tree Roots
Wind damage from shallow roots might often cause accidents or building defects. Most times homeowners don’t know how close the root of trees can get to their houses. When there’s poor soil compaction, shallow roots do not develop very well. Unlike clay soils that are compact, sandy soils lack the density of holding tree roots. With the lack of cohesive soil structure, the chance of growing a tilted tree that that bends with the direction of wind increases. However, there could be a devastating tree collapse on a building when there’s a strong wind. So, shallow-rooted trees are not strong enough to withstand the natural movement of air.
Cracks On Pavements and Obtrusion on Water Pipes
One of the dangers of having trees with obtrusive roots is the structural damages on pavements. While large anchoring (structural) roots cause damage to concrete structures like pavements, the absorbing roots damage underground water pipes. Tree roots in drains is one of the main problems that plumbers face, contrary to the popular opinion. You can hire a certified arborist to inspect, and check your trees for root problems. When homeowners ignore the root problems, it affects the value of their property and increases maintenance costs.
Preventing Tree Roots’ Damage with Building Codes
Building contractors should be mindful of basic building codes, and construction standards. When a tree is within 3 meters from the foundation of a proposed building, it’s proper to follow these rules. Allow at least one-meter space between the areas of soil excavation work on the tree. This minimum space gives convenience for a machine operator to perform root cutting tasks on tree trunks that 30 cm wide. However, when the tree’s trunk is larger than 30 cm, allow at least a 2-meter space for the soil excavation work.
It’s dangerous to ignore building codes that require the felling of trees that are close to the construction site of any property. Most cases of concrete shifts and foundational cracks occur when there’s pressure from an external force. A concrete root barrier with reinforcement rods around the foundation can resist the pressure of tree roots. The only drawback with this barrier is the huge cost of building it if your yard is large. Without root barriers, the foundation of buildings tends to be vulnerable. So, structural protection for residential and commercial properties can mitigate any risk from tree roots.
Tree Roots in Cities
It’s important to get trees in towns for so many well-proven reasons, but without adequate consideration, trees in urban environments may cause costly damage to built infrastructure in Australia. The most common difficulty being surface sidewalk damage resulting from the occurrence of root heave.
Characteristically, trees and cities do not coexist. Trees are meant to be in natural forest settings, while cities are made up of manmade components designed to appeal to individual way of life. Roads, sidewalks, buildings, utility services — these are designed to provide for our needs as town residents, but are all in opposition to the requirements of urban trees.
Then think about soil conditions… Roads and parking lots need a structurally sound base which may withstand heavy loads for long intervals. To accomplish that, soil needs to be compacted to a point where tree root expansion is completely restricted. Civil engineering and urban planning professionals need to find a way to integrate these urban aspects with the natural environment it was built in.
What’s Root Heave?
Root heave, occasionally referred to as pavement heave, is caused by shrub roots that do not have sufficient growing space underground, caused largely by compacted soil that has been identified to provide structural stability for the overlying pavement. This compels the shrub’s roots to colonise immediately underneath the hardscape surface, inducing the paved surface to lift, crack, and create aesthetic and security issues.
Root heave is a challenge for municipalities because, in addition to its unpleasant appearance, it poses a major liability risk due to the tripping hazard it causes.
Preventing Tree Roots’ Damage with Regular Inspection
Property owners might plant trees around their home to boost oxygen concentration. Also, plant leaves mop up carbon dioxide in exchange for oxygen that’s essential for man’s survival. Like building maintenance, trees are inspected to know their damage potential. By having regular maintenance like root pruning, it will check their range of penetration. Since trees can thrive for many decades, arborists can monitor the root reestablishment rate of any tree. This inspection and preventive maintenance process help to evaluate the need to transplant or pull down the tree.