Is It a Good Tree or a Bad Tree?

There are a lot of ways we can compare and describe trees in our yards. Are they tall or short? Are they thin or fat? Are they deciduous or coniferous?

But you don’t necessarily evaluate trees as being either good or bad. Unless they happen to look like this:

However, you can use these simple adjectives when discussing whether a tree is a danger to your home. Here are some ways that “bad” trees can cause homeowner headaches (and how to know if the tree in your yard might do damage later on):

1. Falling limbs. Certain types of trees — like poplars or cottonwoods — can become hazardous once they die. That’s because their limbs get very brittle and tend to snap off in a windstorm or snowstorm. If a big limb is hanging over your home, then that’s a problem waiting to happen.

2. Falling trees. Pine trees and others like them have small root balls when compared to their wind resistance. Translation: high winds can uproot these trees and send them toppling over. If your home is near a large or leaning pine tree, you should consider calling a tree service.

3. Clogged gutters. If tree branches are hovering over your home’s roofline, your gutters could fill up with leaves or pine needles in no time. The debris could clog the gutters up and prevent rainwater from flowing into the downspouts. Where does the water go instead? Over the edges of your gutters and onto the ground right next to your foundation.

4. Critter highways. Another problem presented by overhanging limbs is that they become thoroughfares for squirrels, rodents, raccoons, and other critters to reach your roof and/or gutters. Then these pests tend to nest, burrow, and even invade your chimney and attic.

5. Wire problems. You may have telephone or electrical wires that run over your home. If tree branches grow into these wires, a windstorm could either short out or take down the wires, forcing you to call the utility company for a repair job. There’s even a chance the live wires could get cut and start a fire.

6. Worn out roof shingles. If tree branches are close enough to your house to actually be touching the roof, they start to scrape the shingles when the wind blows. Not only does this create a really annoying sound, it also wears down the shingles and causes roof leaks.

7. Foundation problems. If you plant a sapling right next to your home, it may look cute and/or provide some shade. But its roots may also grow under your home’s foundation and cause buckling, cracking, and separation. Then you’re paying thousands of dollars for foundation repair work.

8. Sewer problems. Like your foundation, a poorly-located tree could spread its roots into your sewer lines. Then you have plumbing problems which can get really messy very quickly.

To avoid these difficulties, make sure you consider all of these issues before you plant a new tree. You should also take a look at all of your existing trees and determine if they are a threat to cause damage to your home. And unless it’s an easy fix, don’t hesitate to call a professional tree service to take care of cutting high limbs or removing larger trees.

Finally, repeat this inspection at least once a year to make sure tree problems don’t sneak up on you. It’s much easier (and less expensive) to take care of tree issues before they cause substantial problems down the road.