Can Shrub Roots Damage Foundations?

Can Shrub Roots Damage Foundations? - Green Garden Tribe Blogs
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There are many shrub roots that can do damage your home’s foundation if planted too close.

Can Shrub Roots Damage Foundations?
Yes, they can! They are capable of causing immeasurable damage. That’s why it’s so important to be are of those plants – shrubs and trees especially that can cause damage to the foundation of your home.

As you know, trees and shrubs – no matter how stunning they may look – are capable of causing havoc in your yard. The trick is to know which ones and choose plants that are more suitable to being planted near your dwelling.

There are popular choices of trees and shrubs to be planted around the house and it is likely to happen that the roots of these trees and shrubs overlap into a house’s existing foundation and plumbing system.

Indeed, this could mean a serious problem and most people will not notice it as it happens secretly out of sight and underground. It will only come to light once the problems are already visible.

However, not all trees and shrubs are capable of burrowing deep down into a house’s foundation and plumbing system. But it does not mean we should drop our guard, as some notorious trees and shrubs have invasive roots capable enough to cause structural damage.

Not only does the damage produce incredible havoc, but it is also quite costly.

The best thing to do to avoid this problem is to get acquainted with the types of shrubs that can damage foundations. But before we proceed to that topic, let us first answer this question:

Can Shrub Roots Damage Foundations?
Again, yes, trees and shrubs roots can damage foundations! All types of trees and shrubs can potentially damage a foundation and even a plumbing system depending on its structure. However, some shrubs have higher chances of causing foundation damage compared to other shrubs.

The reason behind their notorious character is their root system. Flexible, shallow, and large roots are some of the main criteria causing damage to a foundation.

If you unknowingly planted a shrub that falls under this criterion, you might be facing foundation damage in the future.

Perhaps, the next thing you have to know is the varieties of shrubs that can damage foundations and increase your chances of avoiding such problems. Hence, the following topic we will be dealing with is:

Shrubs That Can Damage Foundations

1. Boxwood Shrubs

Known well for shallow and invasive roots, Boxwood shrubs have a tendency to damage a foundation. In addition to that, this is one of the famous choices made by landscapers and homeowners to plant in their yards because of its aesthetic value.

What makes Boxwood shrubs notorious for causing foundation damage is the shrub’s proximity to the house. The roots then extend as years go by finding cracks and leaks in the foundation and plumbing system. After that, they will penetrate these weak points causing some serious damage.

2. Holly Bushes and Shrubs

Next on the list is the Holly Bushes and Shrubs also called the foundation plants. As the name suggests, this type of shrub is planted along the house’s foundation. With that in mind, it is easy for the roots to reach the foundation and work their way to penetrate it by finding weak points.

What if they cannot find a weak point? They stop at nothing, continuing to spread until they get enough moisture and nutrients. Planting them near the home increases the risk of suffering damages. If these plants do not access the required moisture and nutrients they need, they will branch out – even if that means damaging a house’s foundation – just to find that moisture and those nutrients.

Moreover, the other target prone to their invasion is the house’s plumbing system. They will find a crack or enter through a weak pipe joint. Once inside, they can block the pipes and that always leads to serious and expensive damages.

3. Ivy Plants

These beautiful leafy green plants also have something hidden underneath. Ivy plants are commonly used for ground coverings because they cover gaps in landscaping perfectly. This is why they are planted close to buildings and homes.

But Ivy Plants can be a potential threat to a house’s foundation including its plumbing system, mainly because of its growing abilities. Ivy Plants can grow and climb at shocking rates. They can grow three times their average size in four months if left uncontrolled.

Since Ivy is famous for its need to climb, these plants can easily find cracks and weak points in a house’s foundation and continue to grow. Even the plumbing system is not safe from Ivy because it can block the pipes once it gets inside. This is why Ivy Plant is one of the most commonly banned plants due to its ability to grow quickly and because this can lead to some serious structural damage.

These are the types of shrubs you need to be careful of Boxwood Shrubs, Holly Bushes and Shrubs, and Ivy Plants. But you have to know that other varieties like trees are also capable of causing foundation damage. Such examples of trees include Magnolia Trees, Poplar Trees, Birch Trees, Citrus Trees, and Oak Trees.

Why Do They Cause Damage?

Shrubs are not troublemakers at birth and they do not cause damage without any viable reason. Let‘s look at the reasons why shrubs cause damage, with the hope of getting to know more about shrubs and avoid them from turning themselves into troublemakers.

Here are the reasons why they cause damage:

• Lack of Nutrients

As mentioned earlier, the lack of nutrients and moisture forces the shrubs to branch out and search for it anywhere. In their course of searching for nutrients and moisture, they usually penetrate cracks and other weak points in a house’s foundation and plumbing system.

• Insufficient room to grow

This is another serious reason why shrubs tend to branch out—because of limited growing areas. As a result, they will grow out in their estimated area and shrub roots will reach the house’s foundation. If they find a weak point, the roots will penetrate through it and cause serious damage.

• The proximity between the plant and house

Some homeowners may overlook this, but the distance of the plants and houses can be a prime reason why shrub roots cause damage to a house’s foundation. Therefore, you must consider the distance in your landscaping design.

What Is the Alternative Solution?

Aside from knowing the shrubs that are capable of causing damage to a house’s foundation, other alternatives can also be practiced to avoid such problems. If you plan to plant shrubs in your yard, these are the things you should remember:

• Research and plan carefully.

Doing prior research will enhance your knowledge about shrubs that have invasive roots. The planning stage will cover the most important part—measuring, landscape design, and another crucial aspect of the house.

• Measurement

To avoid the roots from reaching the house’s foundation, they should be planted at an appropriate distance to grow healthily without the need to branch out. This includes providing all the essential elements that the plants need.

• Landscape design

This phase will cover the measurement phase. Landscape design is also necessary to ensure that you will have an outstanding yard free from any problems.

• Plumbing system location

Knowing the location of the plumbing system is also important so that you will know where to place your shrubs. The plumbing system contains water and the roots get attracted to it if they are not getting enough moisture. On the other hand, if it leaks, it will result in waterlogging causing root decay.

The Solution To the Problem

Forewarned is forearmed they say. Therefore, good planning on your part before planting will help you create a stunning garden that doesn’t cause any of the foregoing problems.

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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