How to Stop and Prevent Tree Roots From Growing Under Your House?

Tree roots are an extremely powerful force of nature that a lot of people choose to ignore. These roots can also destroy existing properties, and if not given proper attention, can even destabilize your house. This can be really worrying if you won’t know how to deal with the situation. Let’s take a look at some of the dangers of tree roots and how you can prevent or deal with damage caused by them.

The first step to prevent roots from growing under your house is to put in place a protective root barrier around the entire foundation of the house. You can also reinforce your foundation and the walls of your basement to prevent the roots from finding any weak spots.

avoid tree roots growing under house

Can Tree Roots Damage Basement Walls and House Foundations?

Tree roots, especially of younger trees can be really aggressive during their growing phase. Tree roots usually take the route of least resistance. When they come in contact with falls or pipes, they tend to either shift laterally or move upwards or downwards to avoid them.

But in some cases, if the roots sense any cracks or weak spots in the walls or pipes, they can try to go through them as well. This is also the reason why sometimes you can see small plants coming out of concrete surfaces.

This is more likely to happen depending on the growth speed of the tree and the kind of soil your house is built on. For example, sandy soil tends to shift a lot more than clay-heavy soils which leads to some small cracks in the foundation of your house. This is more of an invitation for roots to go through these walls.

Similarly, slow-growing trees are more likely to divert when they find any obstacles.

If you have a basement in your house, you are more likely to see the early signs of damage to your foundation. If you notice any damage, immediately contact a professional. You should not ignore early signs of damage as it can become more expensive to fix later down the line.

How to Stop Roots from Growing Under Your House and Foundation?

Assuming that your house has already been constructed and there is a tree nearby, there are a couple of preventive steps which you can take to protect your foundations.

The first step is to put in place some protective root barriers into the grounds. These root barriers can usually be found in a hardware store or you can source them from a local tree removal service provider.

These barriers are meant to surround your house by placing them deep into the soil. When roots approach these barriers, they will most likely take the path of least resistance and look in other directions for nutrients and water.

The depth of these barriers should exceed that of your house foundations, this way the roots won’t just find another route to access your house.

The next step which you should take is to reinforce the foundations and basement walls of your property. Even after you put up the barriers, there might be a chance that tree roots can circumvent them. In this case, having reinforced walls and foundations will prevent them from damaging your property.

Another thing which you can do is cut off the roots which you notice coming in your house’s direction. If you don’t want to harm the tree, try not to cut too many roots, especially close to the base of the tree.

One tip is to only cut roots that are clearly visible, you won’t need to dig up too much soil around the property trying to discover roots that might be coming in your direction.

Why You Should Not Build Your Foundation Over Tree Roots

If you are starting to lay the foundations of your house and you notice tree roots in the area, you should be really careful while going ahead.

There are a few things which you will need to keep in mind. First, is there a possibility for you to shift the location for the foundation? In most cases, the answer to this would be a no. The second question is whether you want to protect the tree or not.

If the answer is yes, then you will have to consult an arborist regarding how to remove the roots without seriously harming the tree. Cutting off a couple of roots, especially if they are located far from the trunk of the tree won’t do any serious harm. But if you have to cut a lot of roots, it may harm the tree beyond repair.

On the other hand, if you want to get rid of the tree, then you can simply cut off the tree which is in your way and start killing the tree simultaneously as well. This way you can go ahead with laying the foundations for your property.

If you are dealing with a large tree, consult a professional regarding how to cut it down and remove it. You can also take a look at this article about different methods for killing a tree.

Which Tree Species Should You Avoid Planting Near Your Property?

It is not recommended to plant fast-growing trees near your property. Their root systems can be especially aggressive. You should avoid trees such as American Elms, Willows, Hybrid Poplars, Silver Maples. More than likely you will end up cutting them for firewood once they become invasive.

You should also consult with an arborist before planting any trees near your property.


To prevent tree roots from growing under your house, install root barriers. You can usually find these from a local hardware store and hire a professional to get it done. You should also reinforce your foundations and the walls of your basement to prevent the roots from finding any weak spots.

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