Roots have a bad rap. We often hear from clients that they don’t want to plant a specific tree because the roots will damage their pipes. Or sometimes they think we should remove a particular tree because it is damaging their foundation.
For the most part, roots are harmless, and there is nothing to worry about.
But these misconceptions persist. For each of the scenarios listed below, just because roots are present when damage is done does not mean that roots alone caused the problem. Correlation is not causation.
Here are a few myths about roots:
Myth One: Roots break pipes
The opposite is generally true; they take advantage of cracks but do not break the material themselves. If you find roots in a pipe, it is probably because the pipe cracked and the roots entered the crack in search of water. Roots act like melted cheese and ooze into a space. They are not sledgehammers and have no real punching power.
Myth Two: Roots crack foundations
The same as above: The foundation is cracked by water or shifting ground. The roots took advantage of the open space and filled in the gaps. But when the foundation is uncovered during the repair process, the roots look like they caused the crack and are blamed for the damage. Roots generally have no interest in growing into your foundation. They are looking for food and water, not compacted soil and concrete blocks.
Myth Three: Trees that damage sidewalks should be removed
Okay, this one does have some truth in it. Roots can grow further than the dripline of the canopy, so trees planted right next to city sidewalks or brick patios can cause some impact. The good news is that there are often cost-effective solutions to these issues, especially when planning ahead. Read more about how to manage roots.
Trees send roots out far and wide to look for nutrients, water, and air. They aren’t on a mission to wreak havoc in our cities and backyards. If they start to get in the way, there are often simple ways to manage them that do not necessarily need to include cutting down the tree. Remember: Correlation is not causation. Let the roots flow, and your trees will grow healthy and strong.
Still unsure about tree roots on your property? We’re only an email away, so feel free to send us a message.