The influence of a tree begins at the roots. As the tree matures, the roots continue to grow and extend towards anything that will maintain the life of the tree. Typically, roots seek out moist soil, which is why it’s important to understand the impact of trees planted at your property. In their search for water, they might find entry into damaged or old pipes such as sewage pipes, water mains, and stormwater drains.
Trees and Ground Movement
Weather and environmental changes throughout the seasons can also have an impact on how trees interact with the built environment around them. During the summer months, the soil can dry out. This causes reactive clays to shrink, which can lead to significant ground movement, foundation settlement and even subsidence in extreme cases. Trees on the property can, unfortunately, worsen this process. As the roots search for moisture, they will begin to extend through the dry soil, which absorbs any remaining water from the already dry soil and desiccates the ground. This can lead to a range of concerning subsidence signs such as distorted timber frames, cracks in brick walls, and jammed windows and doors.
Tree surveys and tree reports are a wise option if you are considering buying a property with trees outside. A tree survey from Treesurvey.co.uk will provide you with further information on the potential risk caused by trees on the property. They work with professional, qualified, and highly experience tree surveyors who have a detailed knowledge of the biology and nature of trees and work on thousands of projects each year.
Throughout the year, tree activity can vary depending on the type of tree. This is why it is important to identify the types of trees that are growing near your property and other important structures. For example, deciduous trees will hibernate during the winter before regrowing during the spring. As a result of this lifecycle, the water demand of these trees tends to be highest during the warmer and drier months, which can increase the risk of soil shrinkage significantly. Along with this, the physical characteristics of a tree may determine how much moisture is likely to be absorbed by the roots. However, it’s not the overall size of the tree that you should look at. Research suggests that the leaf area ultimately determines the tree’s demand for moisture, rather than the height.
Trees that are placed closely together on your property may be a cause for concern. This is because when trees are planted close together, they will be forced to compete with one another for nutrients and moisture in the same soil area. The larger the group of trees is, the bigger the impact will be on the soil in the surrounding area drying out. As a result of this, it is more likely that buildings that are located close to large groups of trees will experience the impact of adverse ground conditions as the trees absorb more moisture.
The Surrounding Environment
Footpaths, roads, and other developments that have limited green space can also play a part in preventing moisture from reaching the soil underneath. This lack of permeability can lead to drier soil conditions and force tree roots to use the limited amount of moisture that is available, which can further ground movement due to soil shrinkage even further. This is especially common in urban areas where trees are often planted for ‘green scaping’ or aesthetic reasons without taking the degree of exposed soil and the moisture available into account.
How Trees Can Impact Property Value
Whether you’re buying a new property or looking to sell your current home, it’s a good idea to be aware of how trees on the property can either increase or decrease the value of the home.
Trees can add value to your property in several ways, including:
- Added Privacy: Trees can help to make a home or a back garden more private, which can be a selling point for a property. Many people do not want to live in a home where they feel too exposed, and trees can offer some cover.
- Shade: In areas that get a lot of suns, trees can offer a shady area and make it easier to enjoy an outdoor space. In addition, trees can contribute to the energy efficiency of a property due to the shade and shelter that they provide.
- Protection From Debris: When trees are properly positioned and maintained, they can defend your home against debris in bad weather, for example, that might have otherwise caused damage to the property.
However, trees can also cause the value of a property to decrease. This can happen for several different reasons, including:
- Ground Movement: Trees that are using up all the moisture in the soil in the drier months can cause ground movement and subsidence, which can lead to serious issues in a property, ultimately decreasing its value. In severe cases, trees can cause property issues that may be extremely costly for an owner to repair.
- Pests: Trees on a property may also lead to pests in the area. There are various pests and diseases that can impact certain types of trees on your property. This can sometimes lead to damage to the property itself as the result of a pest infestation, or trees that become an eyesore, causing the curb appeal and aesthetics of the property to be reduced which can impact the value.
- Property Damage: When trees are not properly maintained, there may be a risk of damage to the property from falling branches or falling trees. Not only can this be dangerous to the property and the people living within, but it can also lower the value of the property significantly.
Whether you are buying, selling, or living on a property, understanding the impact of trees planted nearby is important. While there are many benefits of planting trees in your garden, it’s important to understand the risks and the importance of good tree maintenance and care.