The Dangers Of Tree And Plant Roots


Many homeowners with foliage-filled gardens are blissfully unaware of the damage tree and plant roots can cause if planted too close to their home.

When buying a house, or planting a tree, it is important to be aware of the proximity of trees to the property and any outbuildings. This is especially true of species such as willow and poplar.

These have a larger requirement for water than other trees, and therefore are more likely to cause problems as a result of ground shrinkage through the extraction of water, especially in dry weather and in shrinkable soils such as clay.

Many people are unaware that the likely range of a mature broad-leaved tree’s root system may often equate to twice the ultimate height of the tree.

There is no real substitute for light in a property; therefore this should be carefully considered when it comes to trees. To read more about this in one of my previous blogs click here – Your right to light.

The maximum recorded spread of a willow for example is 40metres, although according to the Subsidence Claims Advisory Bureau, it should be safe to plant a willow no closer than 18metres away. They also suggest the following minimum distances for other trees:

  •  Cypress 3.5m
  • Birch 4m
  • Apple/Pear 5m
  • Cherry/ Plum/ Peach 6m
  • Hawthorn/Rowan/Plane 7m
  • Lime 8m
  • Beech 9m
  • Ash 10m
  • Horse Chestnut 10m
  • Elm/Maple/Sycamore 12m
  • Oak/Willow 18m
  • Poplar 20m

The affect on neighbouring property must also be taken into consideration as there have been cases where arboreal DNA testing has been used to determine which actual plant has caused damage on the other side of a boundary!

Buildings’ insurance is available to all homeowners and good policies will provide tree-damage cover.  However, insurance is one thing but a little forethought on this issue could prevent considerable hassle for you or a subsequent resident in future years.

For further information contact Tony Lynch on Woking 751000.

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