What Columbia, MD, Residents Should Know About the Subsidence Caused by Trees

If you’re noticing issues with your home’s foundation, you need to locate the culprit to prevent further damage. Water leaks, soil compaction, and, of course, nearby trees can cause subsidence, leading to serious structural concerns. However, before removing any trees on your property, you need to understand the factors affecting subsidence caused by trees and the warning signs.

Below, our team from Affordable Tree Services, a trusted tree service company in Columbia, MD, discusses the signs of subsidence from trees and how to respond.

What Is Tree Root-Related Subsidence?

Subsidence describes the sinking of unbalanced foundations due to gradual caving beneath the surface. The ground beneath your property can sink for numerous reasons, including burst water pipes, gradual soil compaction, natural gasses, or tree root movements. This sinking forces your home’s foundation to shift, which can damage floors, ceilings, and walls.

What are the primary signs of subsidence caused by trees?

  • Cracks larger than 3 mm thick.
  • Cracks visible from the inside and outside.
  • Cracks near the doors or windows.
  • Wallpaper creasing.
  • Sticking doors or windows.
  • Poor or uneven soil quality.

Can Trees Cause Subsidence?

With a brief look into tree physiology, you’ll quickly discover how expansive tree roots grow. Tree roots grow wide rather than deep to look for water. Because of this, trees planted near a structure can infiltrate beneath the foundation. Typically, this isn’t an issue unless they dry out the soil, causing what’s resting on it to sink down. 

For example, clay soil subsidence and trees are notorious for going hand-in-hand. Clay soil dries out and shrinks. If you have this type of soil, tree root management for foundations is vital.

Factors Affecting Subsidence Caused by Trees

Preventing tree damage to house foundations requires an understanding of the factors affecting subsidence caused by roots, such as:

Soil Type

Certain types of soils can fluctuate with moisture levels more dramatically than others. Clay soil is more susceptible to subsidence because it can shrink and grow dramatically based on whether it is wet. 

Property Age

Older homes have higher risks of subsidence due to shallow foundations. Modern homes (built after the 1950s) tend to have stronger foundations. Typically, modern buildings better withstand a bit of shifting beneath the surface. 

Tree Species

Large trees and water-absorbing trees take in far more water from the soil with expansive root systems. Here are some trees with higher susceptibilities for causing subsidence:

  • Aspen. 
  • Oak.
  • Willow. 
  • Elm.
  • Ash.
  • Poplar.

Tree Proximity

The most obvious factor affecting your risks of subsidence is the tree’s proximity to your building. Tree roots can span up to four times the tree’s canopy. 

Even if the tree appears to be a good distance from your structure, might the roots still cause damage? If so, you should call Affordable Tree Services.

Schedule Your Tree Removal Today

If you want to avoid repairing foundation cracks from trees and presenting an arborist report for subsidence claim paperwork, keep an eye on root growth. Call Affordable Tree Services today at (301) 512-5531 to discuss subsidence caused by trees on your property, removal options, and more. 

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