Tree Roots – Got a Problem Brewing?

2701_Haynes_Avenue_(2898505783)It’s undeniable: Portlanders love their trees. They add beauty and value to a home that can take years to come to fruition. Of course, with mature trees also comes potential hazards if they are not properly trimmed and cared for as they grow. A diseased, weak tree, or one not properly cared for could pose a threat to nearby structures and people, especially during inclement weather. Keeping trees healthy not only protects from falling limbs or toppling trees, but also helps the tree to grow strong, allowing it to continue to provide beauty and value. To make sure your trees don’t come crashing down or destroy precious sidewalks and foundations, there is one piece of advice you MUST listen to: don’t neglect the roots.

Tree Root Problems are Real

Roots are the mouth of the tree, giving access to water, oxygen and all of the essential nutrients needed for its growth. Most roots are found towards the surface of the ground, which is where problems can arise. It just so happens that home foundations, sidewalks and other infrastructure share the same type of spaces. While tree roots are tenacious and unforgiving, contrary to popular opinion, they do not intentionally plow through solid surfaces. Trees roots actually look for the path with the least resistance. When they encounter a solid object, such as concrete, they will grow around it unless the tips of the roots grow into an opening in the object, like a crack.  A crack in a foundation, sidewalk, deck, patio, or pipeline can provide a place for these tree roots to penetrate. As the root grows and expands it will begin to split the object, creating a very costly problem. It’s the same story for sidewalks where the roots passed under the concrete but over time lifted the section as they grew.

What to do about it – watch where you plant

Obviously, the best way to prevent damage down the road is by planting trees away from structures, but this isn’t always an option. Especially if the tree was there first. The most important thing to do if you think you have a potential tree root problem is to call a professional. Roots are not only essential to the well-being of trees, they are essential to the safety of nearby structures since they anchor the tree to the ground. If a homeowner wants to keep the tree and cut the root, it is vital to call a professional who can properly examine the tree and determine if root pruning is a good option. Severing a major root in order to prevent damage to a structure may be creating a dangerous situation down the road if it is not handled correctly. If you are being proactive, root barriers are another great way to allow roots to grow and still protect foundations, paths and pipes.

ArborPro offers hazard tree evaluation, root pruning, and root barrier installation in Portland and surrounding areas like Beaverton, Lake Oswego, West Linn and Sherwood. Give us a call for a free estimate.

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