Tree – Root Damage to Foundation

Q: I live in a row of townhouses. A neighbor has a maple tree that is growing near the common wall of our building. Is there reason to be concerned that the tree will damage the foundation?

A: It all depends on how close to the wall the tree is growing. Damage usually occurs in two ways: pressure against the wall and swelling underneath the wall. If the tree is right up against the wall, its swaying can press against the brick and crack it. Likewise, if large roots are growing under the concrete foundation, they can lift and crack it. If the tree is more than ten feet from the wall, there is little likelihood of damage. If it is closer, a certified arborist should visit and make an assessment of the situation.

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