Last Updated on December 16, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford
A tree’s influence begins at the roots. As the tree begins to mature, the root will continue to grow, moving towards moisture and nutrients that will help to keep the tree alive.
Tree roots will look for moist soil, which is why it’s crucial that you understand the impact of any trees that are planted at your property.
When trees are searching for water, the roots could cause damage to the property by finding entry to stormwater drains, water mains, sewage pipes and more.
Ground Movement Caused by Trees
Throughout the changing of the seasons, the changes in the weather and environment can have a huge impact on how the trees interact with the environment around them.
In the summer, when there is less rain, the soil might dry out, which can cause reactive clays to shrink. As a result, this can lead to significant ground movement, settlement of the foundation, and in some extreme cases, subsidence.
When on the property, trees can worsen this process as the roots search for further moisture. The roots will extend through the dry soil, absorbing any remaining water from the soil that has already been dried out, further desiccating the ground. As a result of this, a range of worrisome subsidence signs like cracks in brick walls, distorted timber frames, jammed doors and windows, and more can appear.
If you have trees on your property, tree surveys can help you find out more about how these might have an impact. Click here for everything you need to know about tree surveys.
Types of Trees
Tree activity can vary throughout the year depending on the types of trees present. Because of this, it’s important to identify the different types of trees that are growing near your property and other structures. Deciduous trees, for example, will hibernate during the winter before they grow again throughout the spring.
The water demand of these trees, as a result, will be highest during the summer months, which can significantly increase the risk of soil shrinkage. You can also determine how much moisture the root of a tree is likely to absorb by looking at the tree’s physical characteristics. The leaf area is filled with clues regarding the tree’s demand for moisture.
Groupings of Trees
If your property has a range of trees that are placed closely together, this can also be a situation that might be concerning. When trees are planted close together, they may often begin competing with one another for the moisture and nutrients that are available from the surrounding soil.
The larger the group, the bigger the impact on the soil in the environment and the more likely it will be to dry out. Because of this, if your property is located close to a medium or large group of trees that are planted together, it might be at a higher risk of certain adverse ground conditions as the trees fight to absorb as much moisture as possible.
The Local Environment
There are several local environmental factors that might have an impact on how much moisture the soil underneath can get, and how the tree roots react to this. Roads, footpaths, and other developments with a lack of green space can be particularly problematic when it comes to preventing tree roots from getting the moisture that they need.
Since there is a lack of permeability, this can often result in drier soil conditions, forcing the tree roots to use the limited amount of moisture available to them.
Ultimately, this can lead to further soil shrinkage and more ground movement. This can often be quite a common occurrence where trees are planted for aesthetic reasons such as ‘green scaping’ where the degree of exposed soil and the moisture available in the soil is not considered.
How Trees Can Add Value to Your Property
Whether you’re buying a new property, looking to sell a property, or thinking about building or renovating a property that is close to trees, it’s worth knowing how the presence of trees can impact the value.
There are several ways that trees can add value to your property, including added privacy for your home or garden space, which can often be a main selling point as lots of people like the idea of not being too exposed at home. Along with this, trees can also offer shade and protection from debris to the home.
When they are maintained correctly, trees can make it easier to enjoy an outdoor space by providing a shady area and may even improve the energy efficiency of a property. They can also defend your home against debris during poor weather conditions that may have otherwise damaged the property.
How Trees Can Decrease the Value of Your Property
While there are several ways that trees can add to the value of your property, it’s also important to take into consideration that they can reduce the value as well. Ground movement is one of the biggest reasons for trees to reduce the value of your property, as this can be a very costly issue to fix.
The value of your property might be decreased if, during the drier months, trees are using up all the moisture in the soil, leading to ground movement and more serious issues such as subsidence.
Along with this, trees can sometimes cause property damage. This is usually more likely to be the case when the trees are not correctly maintained. Falling branches, or even the entire tree falling down, can cause serious damage to your property, which could put potential buyers off from purchasing it at the full asking price. And finally, lots of trees on a property can lead to pests and diseases, which can cause damage to the property, ruin the aesthetics, or even cause a hazard to your own health or that of your family.
While trees look nice near a property, it’s also important to consider the other impacts that they are having. Trees that suck up moisture from the soil during the dry months of the year can lead to a huge range of problems including the risk of subsidence.