large tree too close to the house

Asked January 23, 2018, 8:39 PM EST

Hello, I have a tree that is growing too large and is near the house. I fear the roots are going to cause problems with the foundation. Is topping the tree, or cutting out the lower branches, or some other strategy, a way to save the tree and the foundation? If not, how do I know when it's too close and the foundation is threatened?

Washington tree roots and house foundation

3 Responses

Thank you for your question about your tree and its roots. Some trees should never be planted near a foundation (or sidewalks or driveways), but you don't say what type of tree it is. So, I can't tell you whether it is within the types of root structures that can cause damage. If you'd like to write back with that information (and some photos), I can research it further. In the meantime, you might want to read this article. (Even though it's written for the Midwest, the same tree variety/root structure issues are applicable in the Pacific Northwest.) Hope this is helpful. Good luck!

I have attached a picture of the tree. It is a shallow foundation, not a basement. I have attached a photo. I'm hoping maybe you know which tree this is, and whether it can be near the house, as per the previous email?
Thank you

Your tree is a cedar tree, a member of the Cupressaceae (cypress) family. (Without seeing the trunk, I can't tell you exactly which species. These can often grow 70 to 200 feet tall, live long lives, and are unsightly when pruned or topped as you suggest. Since we are not arborists, who would require more information about the specific characteristics of this tree, your soil and the state of your foundation. Needless to say, these giant trees should not have been planted so close!

I suggest you involve a licensed, bonded, insured arborist whom you can locate through this link, or contact your county Extension office for a recommendation. It's good you're attending to this! Good luck!