3 Ways Trees and Plants Cause Basement Wall Cracks and What to Do About Them
Trees and plants are a great feature of any landscape. You can create your personal oasis with a garden of beautiful shrubs, trees, and flowers. However, it is important to consider your foundation when doing so. Trees, plants, and shrubs are known to cause basement wall cracks. The following are common ways they do this.
- Root systems pushing against walls
Trees and shrubs with aggressive root systems can cause basement wall cracks when they are planted too close to the foundation. The roots of these trees and shrubs spread out wide and can put pressure on basement walls as they seek room to continue spreading. This can result in the basement walls cracking or crumbling. It is for this reason that trees such as poplars, aspens, willows and silver maples should never be planted near foundations.
- Drying the soil
Trees, shrubs and plants that grow near foundations can also cause basement wall cracks by causing the soil near the foundation to dry up. Greenery with thirsty roots will take up all the moisture from the soil, especially during dry seasons. This will result in the soil drying up and shrinking. The basement walls crack as a result of not having adequate support.
- Frequent need for water
Plants can cause damage to the foundation due to their frequent need for watering. If you have to water your plants regularly, the soil around your foundation will expand due to high moisture levels. This will put pressure on the foundation walls and cause cracking.
How to avoid foundation damage
There are several things you can do to prevent basement wall cracks caused by trees, shrubs and plants.
- Choose plants that do not have aggressive root systems. This is especially great if you have a small yard and can’t avoid having plants near the foundation.
- Plant trees at least 25 feet away from the foundation. You can go even further away if you’re planting a tree that has roots that spread out wide. Planting far away from your home will keep your foundation safe from the intrusion of root systems.
- Plant shrubs at least 5 feet away from the foundation. Like trees, their roots can cause damage to the foundation. Planting them far away from your foundation will keep the foundation safe from the risk of damage.
- Choose plants that don’t require a great deal of water. These plants won’t drain the soil of water. They also won’t require frequent watering which can damage your foundation.
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