Distance of white pine from home

Asked April 20, 2017, 9:40 AM EDT

I have a white pine that was planted about 4 feet from the southwest corner of my brick 2 level home. The downspout is just around the corner from the tree. It was planted about 22 years ago and now is about 30-35 feet tall. The grass around the tree does not grow well and there are some visible roots. My question and concern is whether I should cut down the tree and grind the stump to prevent the roots from going into my foundation and drain tiles. The tree branches do hang over my roof and there is some moss growing on the asphalt shingles. Do you feel the tree is too close to the house and should be removed or any other suggestion. I contacted a tree removal company and they are set to come tomorrow, but I suddenly remembered your resource. I decided that I should consult you 1st. The diameter is 18-24 inches. thanks for your immediate response. Henry

Oakland County Michigan trees and shrubs tree roots and house foundation

2 Responses

You are correct that the tree is too close to the home. The shade it casts and the nearness of the branches is helping the moss to become established by providing shade and raising the humidity of that area. I can't say if you should or shouldn't take the tree down. An on-site assessment is required for that by a certified arborist. Your tree service, of course, wants your business and may not be unbiased. To find an arborist in your zipcode area see www.treesaregood.com You may want to delay the removal until an arborist gives you an opinion. Or, if you want the tree gone then Go ahead- you have given two good reasons- the roof condition and the incorrect placement of the tree. Understand that a replacment tree will never reach the size of what you have now, except after another 20-30 years. If you do remove it and want help selecting a suitable replacement, we are here to give you possibilities. Things to consider will be soil type, amount of sun, and available space. Looking at the average mature height and width will be one of your prime considerations. (Divide the mature width in half and place the new tree at least that far from all buildings and other trees ) I hope this helps you. The tree has been there a long time so don't hurry your decision.

Hello again,
Some additional info- in answer to your foundation question-

White pines are rated as 'moderate' for being a problem with foundations. University References state that trees don't cause foundations to crack but, if a foundation has a crack, a root can grow into the crack and widen it over the years as the root grows. For foundation concerns you will want to plant trees more than 1/2 their mature width from the home, since root systems are much more extensive than the branch width.
Here is an excerpt dated Feb. 2016 from International Association of Home Inspectors " Tree Roots and Foundations :

"Contrary to popular belief, InterNACHI has found that tree roots cannot normally pierce through a building's foundation. They can, however, damage a foundation in the following ways:
* Roots can sometimes penetrate a building's foundation through pre-existing cracks.
* Large root systems that extend beneath a house can cause foundation uplift.
* Roots can leech water from the soil beneath foundations, causing the structures to settle and sink unevenly." (End of excerpt). ----- I hope this info is helpful.