Most trees growing near buildings cause no damage. Subsidence and structural damage can be caused by many other factors, including soil type and depth of foundations. This is why it is important for qualified professionals to carry out a detailed site assessment to determine the exact cause.
What is the problem with trees and buildings?
Things to bear in mind if you're concerned about trees near houses and other buildings;
- It must be noted that many trees grow near buildings and, in most cases, these will not cause any damage
- However, sometimes trees growing near buildings can cause major problems, especially after a long period of dry weather
- Subsidence is the main problem posed by trees, but there are also the physical threats caused by falling limbs or structural failure of the main trunk
- If you do have a substantial tree near a building or public highway, it is well worth having it professionally surveyed every few years to assess its overall health and to determine any pruning or felling requirements. Ensure that you keep these reports in a safe place, as they may be useful in any negotiations with insurance companies or public bodies
A tree is the property and responsibility of the land owner, who may be liable for any damage caused. Always check with the Local Planning Authority whether a Tree Protection Order is in place before working on a tree.
The following books and publications make useful reading;
Tree Root Damage to Buildings by Biddle P.G (Willowmead Publishing 1998, Oxford ISBN 095330860X)
The Influence of Trees on House Foundations on Clay Soils (Building Research Establishment Digest 298)
Tree Roots and Buildings by Cutler, D F and Richardson, I B K (Longman Scientific and Technical 1989, ISBN 0582034108)
Precautions to Take When Building Near Trees (The National Housebuilders Standards 1992)
Has Your House Got Cracks? by Freeman, Littlejohn & Driscoll (Thomas Telford Ltd. 1994, ISBN 0727719963)
Some of these books are made available through the RHS Lindley Library.