Tree growing slanted

Creating a visually appealing exterior of your commercial property or being extremely house proud with a garden of flowers brightening up your home can transform a property. One of the main features of a property that instantly stands out are large flourishing trees, but while they may be pretty, they can take a considerable amount of maintenance. Although when regularly maintained and checked, nature causes no problems to buildings, if left unkempt, tree damage can cause serious issues that will dramatically impact your property in the long-term.

Luckily, there are many ways in which a property owner can ensure that their landscape looks stunning without allowing it to cause damage to its surroundings or in the worst-case scenario, the property. To help you keep a stable relationship between buildings and trees, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind.

How To Keep A Good Relationship Between Buildings And Trees

From electrical maintenance to health and safety observations, there are main different tasks you must remember to carry out as a business owner or commercial property owner. It is your responsibility to ensure all tenants, employees and visitors remain safe at all times. On the other hand, as a domestic household, investing in your landscape and maintaining the trees and nature around you can reduce risks of having to pay out to fix damage while also increasing your properties value. Potential risks on the exterior of your property are taken just as seriously as those that may occur inside. Trees, in particular, can be the cause of many structural problems, so here we have devised a list of the main six ways trees can damage your property:

flowers on tree

1. Drain Blockage

Trees and their roots are continuously seeking water to remain healthy and nourished, meaning that roots grow towards all nearby forms of water supply. Roots cleverly manoeuvre their way through the soil until they find a sufficient water supply. In periods of drought when soil becomes dry, the roots will make a beeline for the only alternative water supply, which is in drains. The roots will eventually manage to push their way through the pipes and over time, will fill the pipe with shoots. Pipes simply cannot support an overgrowing tree, meaning they will eventually burst, causing you structural damage and extensive repairs. You can find out more about roots and how they can damage drains on Clear First’s handy article.

Unfortunately, preventing this issue can prove difficult, but it is not impossible. The best way to avoid this is to plant trees that will be far from any drains surrounding your property, or alternatively, ensure that in the dry months you continue to water your landscape to keep it nourished. If a root blocked drain is caught early, it can be solved with the help of a professional plumber. Luckily, there are some common tell-tale signs which can help you to identify when there may be an issue with your drains due to root growth, including:

  • Slow drainage
  • Low water pressure
  • Flooding

plumber fixing pipes

2. Subsidence

As mentioned previously, roots need a continuous supply of water to stay alive. When growing undisturbed, trees will use the moisture from the soil to meet their water supply. If there has been regular rain, the water makes the soil compact, meaning it is stable enough to support the weight of a building. However, similarly to drain blockage, when there have been many weeks with no signs of rain, the roots will absorb all moisture from the soil, making it extremely loose and dry. The loose soil underneath foundations can no longer support the weight of the building, causing subsidence. Subsidence means that the ground surface becomes uneven and starts to sink, making buildings feel or look as if they are sitting on a slant. One of the most prominent signs of subsidence is noticeable cracks appearing near doors and windows.

There are three main ways in which you are able to reduce the risk of subsidence, causing damage to your property. These are as follows:

  • Removing trees – there should be no trees placed near the property, and if you do notice subsidence call in a professional to remove the tree causing the issue.
  • Regular pruning – maintain trees with pruning as it can help to curb their growth and limit the roots searching for water around the property.
  • Carry out inspections – regular inspections of the property, including pipework, gutters and drains can help you to identify if trees are causing damage.

If you require a tree on your property to be removed, then it is important that you do not attempt this by yourself and instead, call in a professional. The Neal Landscapes team has had years of experience in providing clients with landscaping maintenance in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas. Please feel free to contact the team if you require assistance or advice on subsidence and tree pruning.

pruning tree branch

3. Broken Branches

With age, tree branches do start to become unstable and brittle, which if left unpruned, will run the risk of causing significant issues or even potential injuries. If fragile branches are left unremoved in months where storms and high winds are frequent, then it will only take one strong gust to cause them to break off and fall onto cars in your car park, onto the roof of your building or in the worst-case scenario, fall onto someone in or around the property, causing a severe injury.

To avoid running the risk of potential tree-related dangers on your commercial premises or household, you must always enlist the services of a professional tree surveyor to assess the health of the trees surrounding your property. If you own a commercial property, then a survey must legally be completed before you can be insured.

Here at Neal Landscapes, our team of tree surgeons in Aylesbury and in the local areas are able to survey, maintain and remove any trees you believe are causing a problem. Surgery on the tree will only be required in the worst-case scenario, and our team will try their best to save the tree as long as it is safe and does not have potential to cause damage to your property.

broken branch

4. Lift Paving

When a tree is growing in soil too close to a paved area, the only way for it to continue to thrive is to start to develop between the soil and pavement. This means if you were to remove the paving slab, you would immediately see roots growing above the soil. With the strength of the overgrowing roots, the pavement will start to lift away from the surface, making it uneven and a major trip hazard. If this proves an ongoing issue on your property, it is highly recommended to implement barriers to prevent the lift.

There are two main ways in which you are able to prevent this from happening; the first is by pruning the tree. As stated above, pruning trees can help to stop the roots from growth further across under the pavement, which will inevitably stop the roots from damaging the slabs. The second method is to install tree barriers when you first plant the trees. A tree barrier is a plastic barrier that is placed around the roots of the tree to stop it from growing roots too far out. For further information on tree barriers, the different types and whether they can damage your tree, please take a look at SF Gate’s article.

5. Structural Cracking

Thick roots, usually found on old trees, over time, cause foundation damage causing the concrete to bend and eventually crack. While concrete can easily support a building, this is mainly due to the fact that buildings do not move or continuously grow, once they are built, they remain standing in the same position for the remainder of its lifespan. Whereas, trees continue to grow, which, especially if the tree has thick roots, puts the concrete under immense pressure, constantly pushing at its surface, weakening its components, making it bend and crack.

tree root breaking through pavement

6. Disrupt Landscaping

Landscape maintenance is a fantastic way of sustaining a well-kept, attractive exterior; however, it can prove tricky if all trees and plants are competing for essential nutrients. While a large, prominent oak or pine tree looks stunning, it is likely to be taking up valuable root space needed for other trees and plants to grow. We suggest that you try to allow your large tree to have as much free surrounding space as possible to grow and utilise other empty spaces with colourful plants and shrubs. You can easily find an array of stunning flowers on Gardeners 4 You at an affordable price.

If you’re unsure on the best route for creating a welcoming exterior, incorporating in a large tree, why not enlist the help of our professional team to help you complete landscaping in Buckingham or in the surrounding areas?

Avoid Tree Damage On Your Property

If you suspect that a tree may be starting to cause problems with your premises, it is always recommended to call a professional and address the situation as soon as possible. Similarly to any other potential building hazard, the earlier you opt to investigate, the more likely you will be able to solve the issue before it becomes a severe problem. If you require assistance or would like to discuss domestic or commercial landscaping in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas, then please feel free to contact the team.

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