Can Tree Removal Cause Foundation Issues? (Expert Advice)

The presence of trees too close to the foundation of a home has been identified as one of the causes of foundation issues. When this happens, the most common recommendation is for the tree to be removed. However, you shouldn’t just go ahead to remove the trees on your property for fear of foundation damage without knowing why you are doing so or whether it is even a solution to your foundation issues in the first place.

In this article, we answer the question of whether tree removal service can cause or solve your foundation issues.

Can a tree cause foundation problems?

When the roots of a tree keep spreading towards the foundation, it starts to absorb moisture from the soil beneath and around the foundation, thereby causing harm to the foundation. With time, the ground begins to sink as the tree roots continue to dry out the water. As a result of this, the foundation of your home shifts, cracks, twists, and settles. When a tree has dried out the soil on one side of the structure, the house will end up leaning towards the invasive tree.

One of the common misconceptions about invasive roots is that to cause damage to a foundation, they have to physically invade it. However, this is not necessarily true. What you need to understand is that for a tree to cause damage to the foundation, it must either be planted very close to the foundation or, in the case of trees with very invasive roots, the roots may find their way to cracks in the foundation, further causing damage to the concrete.

How do you know if tree roots are damaging a foundation?

One of the signs of foundation damage caused by tree roots is vertical cracks in the foundation. Vertical cracks usually occur when the soil around the foundation has been dried out by the roots of the invasive tree, thereby causing the foundation to sink. One other sign that your foundation is being affected by invasive tree roots is that the house may start to sink on the closest side to the tree. It can also manifest itself through slanted floors or a structure visibly slanting toward the tree.

Your foundation can be damaged by large trees planted within thirty feet of your home. So, you want to watch out for trees such as Black Walnut, Sugar Maple, and Oak close to your house. Small trees such as Dogwood, Crabapple, and Japanese Maples should not be within 10ft of your home as they can cause damage to the foundation. 

Even when planted at a distance of 100 feet from the home, trees that have invasive roots can cause damage to the foundation. This includes Cottonwood and Silver Maple.

It is important that you know the kind of trees on your property and how close they are to the foundation. Some signs of foundation damage caused by trees include cracked windows, vertical cracks in your concrete foundation, visible surface roots close to your foundation.

What happens to your foundation when a tree is removed?

The soil level of the area where a tree’s root zone begins to rise as soon as the tree is removed. This is due to the fact that the water that used to be absorbed by the tree roots is not retained by the ground, thereby causing the soil to “swell”. This can be a good thing because this process creates a solution to the damage done by the tree by gradually reversing sinking or settling. This is not a fast process as it takes months and sometimes several years.

However, tree removal service can also come with some downsides. The possibility of yard flooding is increased by tree removal service because the root system that used to absorb excess water in the soil is also removed with the tree. If your area is plagued with heavy rainfall or heavy storms, tree removal can contribute to flooded or soggy ground.

Also, the roots of a tree planted on a sloped section of the lawn work to keep the soil in place. Should such a tree be removed, the chance of soil erosion is increased.

Should you remove your trees to save your foundation?

As a property owner thinking of removing a tree from your property for fear of foundation damage, there are a few things that you should consider before taking that step. While proper tree removal service can benefit your property, there are times that it can do more harm than good to your structure.

The benefits

As earlier discussed, if a tree is causing a lot of damage to your foundation, removing the tree will put a stop to the structural damage. The good thing is that once the tree is removed, nature will take its course and provide a few repairs to the damage over a period of time. As soon as rain drops some water to the soil that had been dried out by tree roots, a process known as “upheaval” begins by making the soil swell and the height of the soil will be restored to its proper state. This is a solution to a settling or leaning foundation.

If the proximity of a tree to your home is such that it can cause damage to the foundation, then it is highly likely that the tree or its branches are capable of falling on your house. Removing such a tree is a perfect way to protect your home.

The downsides

The root systems of a tree do the essential work of absorbing excess moisture from the soil and preventing erosion. The tree roots lose their ability to perfume these functions once the tree dies, thereby increasing the possibility of leaks penetrating your home’s foundation or causing stagnant water in your yard. Also, if your home is built on sloped ground, your yard may start to erode because there are no tree roots to keep things in place.

Final words

The implication of tree removal service on your foundation is determined by many factors. It is best to seek professional advice before taking any action on the trees on your property. While the cost of getting a tree service may seem high, any delay in taking action concerning the tree on your property can cost you so much money, cause damage to your foundation and property, and even pose safety risks to you and your family in the long run.

To search for a reliable foundation repair contractor in your area, you can visit However, don’t forget to do you due diligence before hiring a contractor.

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