How to Get Rid of Tree Roots Under a House

how to get rid of tree roots under house

At Urban Arborist, our licensed arborists answer hundreds of questions from business owners and residents about how to get rid of tree roots under a house or commercial structure every month. As Richardson’s expert tree service contractors, we are proud to be a reliable source of information for people looking for professional advice. Removing the roots of any tree in your yard before it damages your foundation can be challenging, but if you follow the tips we will outline in this explainer, you can do it without killing the tree and any surrounding plant life.

Research from Arborist News reveals that having just one tree in your front or back yard can cause your property values to appreciate 10%, and rental properties with a tree charge 7% higher rents on average. They provide a home for surrounding human-friendly wildlife, clean air, and shade on sunny days.

However, tree roots can burrow as deep as 70 meters underground, although, for most tree species, roots remain less than a couple of meters from the surface, where they have access to soil nutrients, oxygen, and moisture. When water and nutrition become scarce, tree roots will search for them, extending underneath sidewalks and driveways and sometimes penetrating structural foundations.

Looking for Signs of Damage

If you suspect that errant tree roots are damaging the concrete under your home, look for the following signs of damage:

  • Cracks running along exterior concrete fixtures, such as sidewalks, decks, and stoops
  • Cracks appear on outside-facing walls, especially ones near a tree
  • Shattered skylights and cracked windows with no nearby indication of trauma
  • Uneven settling of staircases, window frames, and door frames
  • Your interior floors are starting to buckle

Roots will only penetrate foundations with existing damage, as they will not find soil nutrients, microbes, and moisture inside a sealed one, causing them to avoid reaching inside altogether. Seismic activity and erosion can disturb your foundation and cause it to crack, so if you are conducting a DIY checkup, we recommend investigating with a shovel and pickaxe.

Dig at least three meters deep around your trees, and examine whether their roots are growing toward your foundation. If they are, and you want to know how to get rid of tree roots under your house, contact a licensed arborist and get help from a trusted contractor immediately. DIY foundation repair is time-consuming and labor-intensive, and if you miss a few offending roots, you would have to redo everything.

Tree roots can also wreak havoc on your plumbing, so look out for these signs:

  • Toilets and drains that refuse to accommodate water, even after snaking and flushing treatments
  • Deck or patio drainages that do not unclog with a drain cleaner and plunger
  • Weak water pressure inside your home

How to Get Rid of Tree Roots Under Your House

So, how do you get rid of tree roots under your house? At Urban Arborist, we advocate for saving your trees as much as possible. Here are a few things you can try.

  • Strategically eliminating offending tree tissue and waiting for them to heal so that the trees do not die from their wounds
  • Putting in root barriers to keep roots from growing into exterior fixtures and foundations
  • Cutting down trees and grinding their stumps when it is too late to control their growth

Contact an Arborist Today

If you want to learn more about how to get rid of tree roots under your house, contact Urban Arborist at (214) 674-6709 for a free consultation. We can also tell you the secret to preventing trees from falling on your house without tree removal.


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