American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
2767 Dewey Avenue
Rochester, NY 14616
Office: 585-349-3900
Fax: 585-349-3834

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Can Trees Be Too Close To The House?

Tree Growing Out Of Foundation

Quite commonly trees and bushes are planted too close to houses and their foundations. Most of the time homeowners unwittingly decide to plant a young Japanese Maple, Magnolia Tree, Cherry Tree, or decorative shrub very close to the house without taking the proper considerations to what impact this plant will have on the house when it is considerately larger than when planted.

Bushes and trees both similar negative effects on houses. Bushes tend to fill out as they age. When this happens, the distance the homeowner chose for the bush has now changed. More often than not the bush is now uptight against the house causing all kinds of unseen problems. The rough branches now scrape against the siding causing premature failure of the paint, vinyl, or aluminum. Now that the siding is covered you are unable to easily periodically inspect these areas and may be years before the damage is notices. This also can act as an area that rodents and insects may enter the house undetected to cause costly damage to the structure.

Bushes too close to the house also traps moisture from rain or snow against the foundation. Unable to get the proper airflow between the house and bush allows the moisture to stay for long periods of time creating basement moisture problems, possible insect infestation, and rot. Bushes also prevent the ability to inspect and maintain a positive grading (see Maintaining A Positive Grade) around the homes foundation.

Trees Trees planted too close to the house can also cause serious and costly problems for a homeowner. Whether it is a decorative tree or a weed growing wild, as trees mature and grow larger they can very quickly start effecting a house. The branches, like bushes, scrape against the siding and roof shingles causing frequent maintenance and premature failure. Branches and limbs hanging over the house can break off from age or server weather, causing immediate failure to the roof. Animals such as squirrels and raccoons can easily gain access to the house for winter hibernation causing severe damage themselves.

Roots can also place severe pressure on the foundation of the house causing the basement walls to bow inward and fail, and lifting of foundations causing unevenness, which both can be very expensive to correct and removal of the tree would be ultimately needed. When deciding to plant trees and bushes around the home, proper distance should be obtained. All trees and bushes should be planted at least 10' from any building and have proper trimming to prevent encroachment in the future.

Tree Next To House Tree Next To House
Cracked Foundation Cracked Foundation



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Gunther Home Inspections, Inc.
Voice 585-349-3900 - Fax 585-349-3834
2767 Dewey Avenue - Rochester, NY 14616 -
NYS# 16000005972
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