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As you now know, foundation issues are no bueno! In part one of our Protecting Your Foundation Series, we discussed how the sun can dry up the soil around the perimeter of your home, causing the foundation to shift.

Here, in the second part of our Protecting Your Foundation Series, we’ll talk about another common culprit for a shifting foundation – trees.

Trees can damage your foundation in two ways. The first is the roots. Tree roots can dig into your slab and just obliterate it. The other threat they pose is drinking up tons of water in a given area, causing uneven moisture levels around the home.

So, you may be asking, “How can this be avoided? Even better, is there anything I can do myself to combat this issue?”


To which we will encourage you to feel empowered, because we are going to show you how to combat these issues yourself!

Protecting Your Home’s Foundation by Trimming Your Trees

First, you’ll need a few things:

  • Shovel
  • Ax
  • Clippers
  • Root Barrier
  • Pole Saw

First, we’re going to take care of those roots. To do this, we’re going to dig a trench around the tree 18 inches deep and at least 15 feet away from the trunk. You don’t want to remove more than 25% of the root system or you’ll kill that pretty tree of yours!

As you dig, cut through any roots with your ax or clippers. Remove the ends of the roots if possible. Finally, place a root barrier in your trench so you aren’t doing the same exact thing next year.

Next, we’re going to take care of those limbs. Pruning a tree can drastically reduce a tree’s water consumption. Before you get started though, be sure to research your specific tree, as standards for pruning are different depending on the type of tree.

The basic strategy here is to focus on the lower branches, trim no more than 1/3 of the tree, cut as close to the trunk as possible without damaging the flesh, and do this during the winter.

Keep in mind that if you’re at all concerned about a limb potentially damaging property or injuring someone, it’s best to just hire a professional…seriously.

So protect life’s biggest investment! Trim roots and prune limbs to keep your foundation in mint condition!