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Wild Roots: Six Trees and Plants That Can Damage Your Property

Adding trees to your garden can not only add beauty to your property, but they are also an excellent companion when it comes to keeping the air clean and providing you with shade.

But here’s the tricky part. Whilst it’s true that trees have tons of benefits, there are potential ways they can damage your property without you even noticing it.

We’re talking about some tree’s uncontrollable root system. Did you know that aggressive tree roots can tear up pavements, foundations, and even your home structure?

If you’re concerned about any trees that could damage your home’s overall value, our outdoor experts have compiled below the six trees and plants that can damage your property.

1. Silver Maple Tree

A silver maple tree is the fastest-growing type of maple, and it generally grows 50 to 80 feet tall. Ideal for planting in a landscaping project, this tree also provides perfect shade as the leaves grow densely.

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However, this fast-growing tree has a large and shallow root system which can damage your property. Even worse, they can easily grow and tear up cement sidewalks, driveways, and pavements.

When planted near a house, they can break through a basement wall — causing structural damage. It’s also worth noting that it’s challenging to grow any plants, including grass underneath a silver maple tree.

2. Southern Magnolia

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Magnolia trees are surprisingly low maintenance, but they grow far too big for an average garden. A southern magnolia tree can grow to 80 feet tall and can have a 40-foot spread and a 36-inches trunk.

Additionally, the tree’s root system is different to manage as this tree grows large, rope-like roots and the roots grow horizontally. These massive roots make it almost impossible for any other plantings to thrive near it. 

If your house is within range, the roots can damage not only your home’s structure but also the plumbing system.

3. Willow Trees

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Weeping willows are a beautiful, calming tree thanks to their elegant form and hanging branches. However having them grow near your property can cause structural damage, subsidence and blocked drains. 

These moisture-loving trees have aggressive roots that can invade sewer, septic lines and irrigation ditches. Their shallow roots can also lift pavements, foundations and other paved surfaces — making lawn maintenance quite tricky.

4. Hybrid Poplar Trees

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This type of trees are bred for fast growth, and they can grow 80 to 150 feet high. In addition, hybrid poplar trees are valuable as a quick source of pulpwood, energy and lumber.

But due to their shallow, invasive roots, they don’t make excellent landscape trees. Their roots can stretch as far as 160 to 450 feet from the base of the tree. 

Meaning, the roots can poke up into lawns which makes it dangerous for walking. Also, they could pose a threat to a drainage system if the roots find cracks in the system.

5. Sycamore Trees

Sycamore trees make excellent shade trees for vast landscapes. They can grow 70 to 100 feet tall, and their truck can spread as much as 10 feet in diameter.

But if your goal is to have a tidy and low-maintenance garden, this kind of tree will only work against your will. 

Not only they grow to enormous height quickly, but they also feature aggressive surface roots that can interfere mowing and crack up sidewalks and pavements.

6. Japanese Knotweed

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According to Compare My Move, a Japanese Knotweed can grow as fast as 10cm a day. Not only that, but it’s also capable of forcing its ways through walls, drains, concrete and foundation.

In fact, this plant is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s invasive species as it’s root system can damage pavements and building structures. If you don’t want to cause any subsidence or major cracks on your building structure, you know what type of plant you should get away from.

Most trees and plants look impressive above ground. However, they could be causing havoc underneath. Make sure to keep trees and plants that can damage your property in mind!

If you have one of these trees, it’s best to cut them off immediately. If possible, professional help is recommended. We recommend hiring a tree surgeon to kill the roots using a specialist fluid to ensure nothing continues to grow.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of plants that may look and smell lovely but are actually poisonous. If you want to steer clear of these species, you can read our article here: Seven Deadliest Plants in the World.

Read our other article here: The Fastest Growing Trees in the UK.

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