Tree with root system

When Do Tree Roots Grow the Most?

Each spring, we eagerly await the moment our trees will sprout that first leaf–then another and another.

While it’s easy to see when trees grow new leaves, we can’t see when their tree roots are growing. Luckily, our scientists at the Davey Institute study exactly what is happening underground with trees. With their discoveries, we can understand and care for trees better.

Below, learn how much trees grow each season and how you can help your tree roots grow more.

All About Tree Root Growth Rate in Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter

When do tree roots grow the most?

In general, tree roots grow the most in late spring through very early summer. Many trees experience another smaller growth spurt in early fall.

This second period of growth is very dependent on what kind of tree you have. Some tree species experience this. Some grow a little. And some don’t undergo this uptick in fall growth.

Do tree roots grow in winter?

Yes and no! As long as the ground temperature is above freezing, tree roots can and do continue to grow. As soil temperature moves closer to 36°, roots grow less. Then, once it’s freezing, growth pauses and resumes as soil warms.

Overall, it’s safe to say your tree roots do grow a bit during winter. But, from November to April, any root growth is a bonus.

When do tree roots grow the fastest? How can I help trees grow faster?

“Right now, there isn’t enough data or research to prove definitively when tree roots grow the fastest,” said Greg Mazur, a technical advisor at Davey with over 35 years of experience. “We do know that roots grow anytime the ground isn’t frozen–if they have the water, air and nutrients they need,” Mazur added.

Trees depend on us to provide essential nutrients, which are found in fertilizers. Once they have that, tree roots can keep on growing! Then, when the nutrients are depleted, growth slows or may even stop.

At Davey, our experts use Arbor Green PRO® and Arbor Green Xtra plus B (depending on the region) to keep trees nourished each year. The fertilizers are designed to slowly release nutrients uniformly over time, regardless of when they’re applied. Our goal is to always make sure your tree has enough nutrients to keep on growing.

Tree roots: winter is their growing season

By [email protected]

Some of our most common services involve clearing tree roots from sewer pipes and repairing the damage caused by the infiltration of tree roots. The pipes that take a home’s sewer waste away from the building and into the city sewage system are the most vulnerable to tree root intrusion. A tree’s roots can extend into the surrounding area up to 2.5 times the height of the tree, and fan out with hair-like tentacles searching for water and nutrients from the soil. I’ve found tree roots popping up through the ground into my compost heap from a tree 25 feet away: its radar found the higher-level nutrients of the compost and tentacled its way up through the surface!

In the winter, the tree appears dormant because it has shed its leaves and isn’t receiving any energy from the sun. But it still needs water to survive through the winter, so much of the tree’s energy is spent growing its roots in search of water and oxygen (tree roots require oxygen to grow, so they aren’t often found in pipes that are completely filled with water and prefer sewer lines, which have low levels of water in them when not in use). The roots are attracted by the warmth, water, oxygen and nutrients found in underground sewer pipes and are strong enough to reach through joints, cracks and fissures in the pipe. The flow of warmer water through the pipe causes water vapor to escape into the cold soil surrounding the pipe: ringing the dinner bell for the tree.

Tree roots reaching through a pipe joint (photo courtesy of ehow.com)

Once a small tree root gains access, it can enlarge, spread, and create a clog after it expands and traps debris in the pipe. Since it’s out of their reach, there isn’t much a homeowner can do to prevent tree root growth in a home until they recognize that it’s a problem. If your drainage system becomes slow because of a tree root problem, some of the first things you might notice can include a gurgling system from your toilet or wet areas around floor drains after running a washing machine. If the tree root infiltration is low and slow-moving, it can be cost effective for The Scottish Plumber to simply trim the roots from the inside of the pipe on a regular basis- using high-pressure water jetting or a sewer rodding machine.

If tree root infiltration becomes chronic, it might be wise to replace the pipe with a material that is more resistant to tree roots (such as PVC, which has tighter joints that are harder for roots to penetrate), or to re-line the pipe with trenchless technology, where the pipe is re-lined from the inside with a strong, root-resistant epoxy material. This process is often much more cost-effective than replacing the entire pipe, can extend the life-span of an existing pipe for decades, and doesn’t require a yard to be dug up to access the pipes.

When Tree Roots Grow into Sewer Lines

When Tree Roots Grow into Sewer Lines

Q. I purchased an older home with a 40 year old maple tree planted near the house. The previous owner told us that the sewer line had backed up due to the roots of the maple growing into the line. She said she had the pipes cleared with an auger and did not have any further problems. But I’m sure it won’t be long before those roots go back into the pipe to gain access to that ample supply of water and nitrogen. Is there anything I can do to prevent this besides flushing nasty chemicals down the toilet or cutting down the tree?”

—Luke, who handles the books at Mulhall’s Nursery in Omaha

A. Whoa there, Paul Bunyan! It would cost several thousand dollars to have a forty-year-old tree safely cut down; maybe more depending on the proximity of nearby structures and power lines. And that’s with you leaving the stump in the ground. Remove the stump and you add to the cost—and insure the final destruction of that sewer pipe.

And don’t blame the maple. I spoke with William Eck, an arborist with the Bartlett Expert Tree company, who confirmed my long-held belief that ‘the fault is not in our trees, but in our pipes’. In other words, the tree roots didn’t break the pipe. Although Bill likes the Marvel Comics image of a massive root crushing the pipe, it is the pipe that broke first. Then came the roots of Groot.

As Bill explains, an older home like this is going to have clay pipe taking wastewater away. A lot of these pipes went into the ground with cracks; others were cracked when tons of dirt were pushed on top to bury them. So the, ahem—’nutrient-rich’ water, shall we say—trickles out, one of the fine feeder roots of the tree encounters that wet zone, grows towards the water source and then sends back for silverware, condiments and a napkin when it finds the pipe.

And it’s not just old clay pipe. Bill explains that they often see the same thing happen with PVC piping that wasn’t sealed properly or that got a hairline crack when the trench was filled back in.

Either way, that little root gets big and strong from all the moisture and nutrients when it does get into the pipe. Then those well-fed and watered roots growing into the crack make it even wider. And once those roots get fully inside, warns Bill, they can grow big and strong very quickly.

Now—cleaning the pipe with an auger is the correct initial response, especially when you consider that these problems are generally only discovered when the roots create a seal inside the pipe and sewage starts backing up into the house.

(Everybody say “Ewwwww!”) Ew indeed. But cleaning the pipe is just a temporary solution; new roots are going to grow right back into those existing cracks. And the physical trauma of the cleaning may create new and bigger cracks.

And the chemicals that people flush to kill the roots are not even a one-time solution. Bill says that some of them can be incredibly corrosive. They will kill the roots for a time, but they can also accelerate the destruction of the pipe—and potentially damage indoor plumbing lines as they go from your toidy to the tree. And they can be highly destructive at the end of their journey—causing problems at water treatment plants or killing the biological life that keeps your septic tank functioning correctly.

The best long-term answer is to find a plumber who can insert a flexible pipe with a slightly smaller diameter into the existing pipe. This technology is widely available, but some plumbers balk at narrowing a pipe; and, of course, it has to be legal under local building codes. But it’s the most sensible, cost-effective, and sustainable solution.

If it’s not legal where you live, you’re going to have to dig up and replace the leaky pipe. But you have to be super careful: careless trench digging at this juncture could kill the tree. Then you’re back to a three thousand dollar pile of wood chips.

That’s why you want the added expertise of an arborist at this point. They can work with the excavator to avoid the most important roots, and professionally prune any roots that can’t be avoided. They can also use a device called an ‘air spade’ to safely expose the roots so they can see exactly what they’re doing without the damage caused by actual digging.

Air spades are really cool. I learned about them when I presented at Bartlett’s professional tree care symposium during the Philly Flower Show this Spring. It’s a tool that uses compressed air to blow away soil and expose the roots of a tree without any digging. They’re often used to try and save volcano-mulched trees; the compressed air blows away the smothering layers of mulch and then exposes the top of the root flare if the tree was planted too deeply.

So this is a ‘two professional’ job: someone to dig up and replace the pipe and an arborist to protect the tree while the work is done. And then be sure and test for leaks before you cover the new pipe. As long as everything is sealed nice and tight, Groot won’t be returning any more of your presents to the basement floor.

While it’s true that many trees can add beauty, privacy and shade to your property, others have the potential to wreak havoc thanks to invasive root systems, prickly thorns, messy fruit or weak branches.

Choosing the best tree for your urban backyard is a tough decision. Make a bad choice, and remorse will be yours for years to come.

While it’s true that many trees can add beauty, privacy and shade to your property, others have the potential to wreak havoc thanks to invasive root systems, prickly thorns, messy fruit or weak branches.

Before planting, take the time to do some research. What do you want your tree to do? Are you most interested in shade? Blocking a view? Adding color to your landscape? How much space do you have and is growth rate important to you? Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and are bare all winter. If you want foliage throughout the year, you’ll need to select an evergreen, such as holly, hemlock or spruce.

Sharon Lilly, director of educational goods and services at the International Society of Arboriculture, cautions against labeling any tree as “bad.”

“Every tree has advantages and limitations, and there is a right place and a wrong place to plant them,” she said.

When you’re thinking about the perfect tree for your urban lawn, here are a few that you probably should avoid:

Weeping willow (Salix alba v. tristis)

These graceful, flowing trees might seem like the perfect addition to any landscape, but be warned: Weeping willows require continual care because of brittle wood, which causes broken branches. They are very susceptible to breaking in a storm and smashing whatever car is parked beneath them. They are beautiful trees, but require a very large growing area — not just for their width and height but also because their root systems can be quite invasive.

Cottonwood (Populus)

These trees are generally so weak and unstable that even mild storms can cause branch failures. While the trees’ invasive root systems and branch shedding habits can be beneficial in rural and forested settings, they’re not a great choice in urban areas. Their size is often overwhelming, they give off a urine-like scent, and their fast-spreading root systems can crack foundations and sidewalks. Cottonwood trees have been banned from planting within many U.S. neighborhoods and cities because the “cotton” from them clogs filters and is generally untidy.

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

This deciduous tree has been identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an invasive species for its tendency to crowd out native plants. Homeowners often complain about a rusty staining of driveways and sidewalks located under a Russian olive tree’s thorny canopy. Researchers have learned the staining is not caused by the tree’s fruit or foliage, but instead is the result of arthropod infestations.

Tar spots on a Norway maple tree. Source: Cornell University

Norway maple (Acer platanoides)

“Aside from being overplanted and invasive, these trees will often get ugly looking tar spots on their leaves,” said Daniel Jost, an editor at Landscape Architecture Magazine. “These spots won’t kill the trees, but they’ll disfigure them so badly that you’ll wish they were dead.” The Norway maple usually grows too large for a residential yard, and its shallow root system can lift and buckle sidewalks, patios and roadways.

Ash trees (Fraxinus spp.)

“Sadly I would discourage anyone from planting a new ash tree in their yard,” Jost said. “While these trees have beautiful fall color, an invasive insect called the emerald ash borer is making its way across the U.S. and killing large numbers of ash trees in its wake. It’s killed tens of millions of trees in southeast Michigan already.”

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana)

Because of their beautiful white flowers, Callery pears were widely planted across the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, those pretty white flowers have a bad odor, and some of the cultivars (including Bradford) have poor branching structure and became known for dropping branches during storms. These trees are known to be invasive throughout much of the Northeastern United States.

The exact same tree all your neighbors have

“We have been very slow to learn our lesson when it comes to planting a diversity of trees,” Jost said. “In the 1950s, many of the loveliest neighborhoods in the country were shaded by double rows of elm trees and only elm trees. When Dutch elm disease ravaged these neighborhoods, it killed nearly every single tree and left these places desolate. Cities that replaced all their elm trees with ash trees are facing a similar dilemma today thanks to the emerald ash borer. By planting a diversity of species, we protect ourselves against the risk of an unexpected disease. Just like we diversify our investment portfolios, we need to diversify our urban forests.”

Trees that need lots of irrigation

“If you are living in the desert Southwest, Southern California or some other region with tight water resources, you should avoid planting trees that have high water needs,” Jost said. “In some places, including most of Las Vegas, it is not possible to plant a tree without some irrigation. But you should choose a tree with lower water needs like a mesquite or a palo verde.”

Any tree that has circling roots

When you buy your tree, check to see if the roots are circling inside the pot. These roots probably won’t affect your tree immediately, but as the tree ages, those roots can wrap around the base of the trunk and restrict the flow of water and nutrients. A tree with circling or girdling roots seldom survives more than a decade in the landscape.

A tree that is not allowed by your community

Many communities and homeowners associations have lists of trees that you can and cannot plant. Take the time to understand your community’s rules. Otherwise, you may be fuming when you have to pull the tree out.

Related:

  • DIY Landscaping: 5 Ways to Bust Out Bamboo
  • Bringing Beauty to the Parking Strip
  • Nosy Neighbors? Make Outdoor Spaces More Private

Invasive Roots

Question from Carolyn:
I’m trying to figure out what plant in my back yard is causing the problem of invasive roots. The roots seem to be everywhere and any time I need to dig it makes the job extremely difficult. I have queen palms, pigmy palms and bougainvillas in the back yard. On the slope behind our house are Manzanita and Chaparral. Are any of those the cause? The roots are slightly thicker then a finger and usually flexible. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you.

Answer from Pat:
Invasive roots are a pervasive problem in the west, especially in old gardens with established large trees. Most of the problems I hear about are with trees and sometimes involving tree roots invading from an adjoining property, resulting in inharmony between neighbors. Many trees are obvious culprits, including eucalyptus, Monterey cypress, Melaleuca quinquinerva, camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora), and certain pines. There are dozens more. Most of tree roots are hard and unbending, though some trees, including Monterey cypress and melaleuca, make a mat of surface roots like large-gauge wire wool. But the landscape you appear to be describing to me is a garden with no trees except for palms. Palms are not as much of a problem. Neither queen palms, nor pigmy palms have invasive roots.

Native plants also have roots that spread out to get available water, but in most cases they reach deeply into the ground and for the most part, the roots of native plants are wiry in nature. Of all the plants you list in your garden the most likely culprit is bougainvillea. Bougainvilleas have far reaching roots and they are flexible, as you describe. If the soil is friable these roots will extend far down into the ground, eventually hitting ground water thus rendering the plant totally self-sufficient, able to survive without irrigation. But when eucalyptus grows in an area in which there is a hard, largely impermeable subsoil, or hard pan, the roots will travel sideways out into the ground just under the surface of the soil, as the roots of invasive trees do. The plant is doing all it can to find water. Another plant whose roots travel far and wide in search of water is cut leaf tree philodendron also known as Silloum philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum). When grown in the ground these plants send flexible roots out into the surrounding soil for fifty or one hundred feet. I mention this since it’s a common plant to grow with palms and maybe you have one.

Cutting off tree roots one finds in the ground will often kill branches all the way to the top of that side of the tree and if cut off close to the tree, those roots will never grow back on that side of the tree, but not with bougainvillea. With an established bougainvillea, you can cut off many of its roots without doing any appreciable harm, but those roots will grow back. When invasive roots are a problem, one way to go is to plant in large containers provided with a drip system and sunk into holes in the ground, with a stepping stone under each one to prevent the roots from entering on the bottom. Another way is to build a raised bed. Sometimes this is enough to allow plants to get a foothold and in many cases, as with bougainvillea, the roots don’t have a tendency to grow up into it but instead are satisfied with the water that drains down to them from above. With eucalyptus it’s different, the roots will climb up and fill the raised bed eventually and steal all the water they can get. In that case a barrier must be installed beneath the raised bed to foil the roots trying to sneak in from below.

Refer to books on raised beds in order to get ideas for how to design and build them. Fill them with good top soil and make a marriage of soils at the bottom so that you don’t create hardpan. You can also put in hardware cloth beneath them to keep out gophers. I am sending you photos of a bank in my garden that is also in a way a raised bed because it has a wall on one side to hold up the soil. An established bougainvillea grows at one end of the bank, above the rock wall. I have many raised beds in my garden and most of them need digging out and revamping from time to time. When revamping one can dig up the soil, remove invasive roots, amend, fertilize, and then replant as we did with this bank. I am not strong enough to do this any more but I have a gardener once a week who does this when required.

Palo Verde

Official State Tree of Arizona

Palo verde was designated the official state tree of Arizona in 1954 (legislation specified genera cercidium, but the genus cercidium has been updated to Parkinsonia). All State Trees

“Palo verde” is Spanish for “green stick.” Two species of palo verde trees are native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona; Parkinsonia florida (commonly called blue palo verde) and Parkinsonia microphylla (called yellow palo verde). Blooming in the spring (beginning in late March and continuing until May), palo verde are beautiful trees that add vibrant color to the Arizona desert. Palo verde seeds were a food source for native Americans (the Pima and Tohono O’odham tribes of Arizona); the seeds were dried and ground with mortars to make a flour used for mush or cakes.

Palo verde is a relatively small tree that reaches a height of approximately 32 feet and a trunk diameter of 1.5 – 2 feet. This tree has a deep root system which allows it to tap into the ground water and survive periods of extended drought and withstand severe flash floods (which occur often in desert washes).

Palo verde trees are drought deciduous (sheds its leaves during extended dry spells, at which time the tree relies on its green stems and branches for photosynthesis). The leaves of the palo verde tree are so small that even during the short period of the year when they are present (mid July to late November) it relies on the green branches and stems to help with photosynthesis.

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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Sunday – August 02, 2009

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shade trees not invasive to foundations and driveways
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am in zone 9. What shade trees can I plant that will not be invasive to foundations or driveways? Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants

ANSWER:

The general thought is that trees with tap roots will prevent damage to nearby driveways, sidewalks and foundations. Certainly, avoiding trees with extensive lateral roots will help prevent damage. Mr. Smarty Plants answered a similar question a few days ago so part of the following is excerpted from the answer to that question:

“Although trees are generally divided into two groups by root type—tap root trees (such as oaks, hickory, walnut, conifers) and lateral, or fibrous, root trees (maples, ash, cottonwood)—this distinction is most evident as seedlings or saplings. Once the tree is planted and begins to mature, the distinctions between the root types become less pronounced. Then, the depth and lateralness of the roots is greatly dependent on the soil condition. Highly compacted soils, soils with low oxygen content and soils where the water table is near the surface are not likely to produce a strong tap root. Their roots are more likely to be lateral and located very near the surface with the majority of the roots located in the top 12 inches of soil. Also, it is important to realize that the spread of the roots can be at least 2 to 4 times greater than the drip line of the branches.

You can read the recommendations from Iowa State University Extension Service for Sidewalks and Trees which bases the distance trees should be planted near pavement on the mature height of the tree. Their recommendations are:
1. trees with a mature height of less than 30 feet, 3-4 feet from pavement,
2. trees with a mature height of 30 to 50 feet, 5-6 feet from pavement,
3. trees with a mature height of greater than 50 feet, at least 8 feet from pavement.

You could consider installing some sort of root barrier between the tree and the wall. Here is more information about root barriers.”

Here are some large shade trees that are considered tap root trees that are recommended for Harris County:

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak) and more information

Juglans nigra (black walnut) and more information

Carya illinoinensis (pecan) and more information

Ostrya virginiana (hophornbeam) and more information

Quercus virginiana (live oak) and more information

Quercus alba (white oak) and more information

You can use the Texas Forest Service Texas Tree Planting Guide to select other trees according to your own criteria.

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native plants for part shade in North Carolina
February 07, 2009 – I’m thinking about planting a border in front of my house. It’s on the north side, so it’s fairly shady. One of the main problems with this is that I don’t like many common shade plants, so it’s …
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Bee-attracting vine for shade from St. Paul MN
June 02, 2011 – I need a vine for shade that attracts bees. I am in Minnesota, zone 4a. Thanks
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Shady shrubs for an ugly fence in New Jersey.
June 23, 2011 – What type of tree or shrub can I plant in 07747 NJ to cover an ugly fence that gets little or no sun. Thanks
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Native plants for shady small spaces in Houston, TX
June 18, 2006 – What are the best plants and flowers to plant in small spaces in an urban area in Houston, Texas? I have several flower beds that are 3 foot wide and 10-12 foot long that get half day sun. The area…
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Plants for the Shade of a Pine Tree in Pittsburg
June 03, 2013 – I live in Pittsburgh, PA. My neighbor has a huge pine tree. Last year everything I planted on that side near the tree died. That part of the yard only gets morning sun, as the tree overshadows it. Wha…
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Invasive Tree Root List: Trees That Have Invasive Root Systems

Did you know that the average tree has as much mass below ground as it has above ground? Most of the mass of a tree’s root system is in the top 18-24 inches (46-61 cm.) of soil. The roots spread at least as far as the most distant tips of the branches, and invasive tree roots often spread much farther. Invasive tree roots can be very destructive. Let’s learn more about common trees that have invasive root systems and planting precautions for invasive trees.

Problems with Invasive Tree Roots

Trees that have invasive root systems invade pipes because they contain the three essential elements to sustain life: air, moisture and nutrients.

Several factors can cause a pipe to develop a crack or small leak. The most common is the natural shifting and movement of soil as it shrinks during droughts and swells when rehydrated. Once a pipe develops a leak, the roots seek out the source and grow into the pipe.

Roots that damage pavement are also seeking moisture. Water becomes trapped in areas beneath sidewalks, paved areas and foundations because it can’t evaporate. Trees with shallow root systems can create enough pressure to crack or raise the pavement.

Common Trees with Invasive Roots

This invasive tree root list includes some of the worst offenders:

  • Hybrid Poplars (Populus sp.) – Hybrid poplar trees are bred for fast growth. They are valuable as a quick source of pulpwood, energy and lumber, but they don’t make good landscape trees. They have shallow, invasive roots and seldom live more than 15 years in the landscape.
  • Willows (Salix sp.) – The worst members of the willow tree family include the weeping, corkscrew and Austree willows. These moisture-loving trees have very aggressive roots that invade sewer and septic lines and irrigation ditches. They also have shallow roots that lift sidewalks, foundations and other paved surfaces and make lawn maintenance difficult.
  • American Elm (Ulmus americana) – The moisture-loving roots of American elms often invade sewer lines and drain pipes.
  • Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) – Silver maples have shallow roots that become exposed above the surface of the soil. Keep them well away from foundations, driveways and sidewalks. You should also be aware that it is very difficult to grow any plants, including grass, under a silver maple.

Planting Precautions for Invasive Trees

Before you plant a tree, find out about the nature of its root system. You should never plant a tree closer than 10 feet (3 m.) from the foundation of a home, and trees with invasive roots may need a distance 25 to 50 feet (7.5 to 15 m.) of space. Slow-growing trees generally have less destructive roots than those that grow quickly.

Keep trees with spreading, water-hungry roots 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m.) from water and sewer lines. Plant trees at least 10 feet (3 m.) from driveways, sidewalks and patios. If the tree is known to have spreading surface roots, allow at least 20 feet (6 m.).

When most of us garden and tend to the landscaping around our homes, we trust that the stores in our community have our best interests at heart. So it can be difficult to discover that you planted something that is taking over your yard.

We’ve globalized most of the processes we live with every day. We buy food, books, cars, computers, even clothing from corporations that reach around the world. Why not the plants you include in your landscaping too?

The problem is what grows here in Oregon isn’t the same as what would grow in a desert or tropical community. A tree in Portland might not do so well in Florida. An Oregon tree service contractor will tell you that the biggest problems come from the trees that aren’t native to our community.

What Invasive Species Do To Our Community

Planting a species that isn’t native to our community has a variety of consequences. The most significant is creating a loss of habitat. When new, more invasive species are introduced to an area, they wipe out less aggressive species that are native to the area. And that can mean extinction for both plant and the animals they support.

Still, you may already have a few invasive species in your current landscape. Maybe they were planted long before you moved in.

What problems can they create once they are already in place? Turns out, quite a bit.

It’s easy to see how your landscaping interacts with your home. A vine can attach itself and start to climb up the bricks or pipes of your home. A bush or shrub can crack the foundation. A tree can be too close to your roofline, scraping and damaging your home.

But where the real damage is might not be where you can see it. It can be underground too.

Your property has a lot going on underneath your landscaping. Pipes, wires, sewer lines, and more are buried deep in the ground. And intrusion from invasive tree roots is considered one of the most common problems. It’s also one of the most problematic. And it’s impacting our society in many ways.

The sewer lines buried in your yard are designed to take wastewater out of your home and transport it via pipes out to the streets, and eventually to a treatment plant that treats it and redistributes it throughout our communities in many ways. The trouble is that these systems were built many years ago. And they are getting weaker all the time.

When an invasive plant is in your yard, looking for nutrition, going down to your pipes may be a pretty good place to start.

As an Oregon tree service, part of our job is to educate our customers and share with them how to make their landscaping better. If you’re about to make a change on your property, what trees should you plant, and more importantly, what trees should you avoid?

Empress or Princess Tree
The Empress or Princess Tree is often grown as a yard tree. To keep it under control, it needs regular pruning. The result is a full canopy of large, heart-shaped leaves with trusses of lavender-blue flowers that bloom in the spring. They are considered an ecological threat because of their ability to grow rapidly in natural areas, including forests, stream banks, and steep rocky slopes.

English Hawthorn
English Hawthorn was planted historically in hedgerows, to help contain livestock. Its dense growth can alter the structure of a forest and change open grasslands. It can grow easily in all lowland areas and lives in many soil types. It loves moist soil, but does equally well in drought conditions.

English Holly
English Holly is an evergreen plant that has made its way throughout the Pacific Northwest via birds. This plant has become one of the most common invasive species found throughout our region and can be spread from miles away.

English Laurel
The English Laurel is an evergreen tree that is commonplace in heavily-wooded areas. It’s considered a noxious weed as it’s a fast growing, fast moving plant that is spread through native birds and animals. It’s tolerant in a variety of conditions, making it resilient in many areas.

Golden Chain Tree
The Golden Chain Tree is deciduous, with leaves resembling clover. They have yellow pea-like flowers that bloom in spring, making them popular garden trees. All parts of the plant are poisonous and can be lethal if consumed in excess.

Horse Chestnut
The Horse Chestnut is a deciduous tree that has five-lobed leaves and attractive flowers. The nuts are spread to other areas by birds and animals. Once established, they compete with native trees for space, light, and nutrients.

Norway Maple
The Norway Maple has invasive traits that enable them to spread aggressively. It became a popular choice because of its tolerance in urban conditions, giving it the ability to thrive throughout our community. Yet over time, it often takes on the appearance of a weedy plant and self-seeds very easily.

Sweet Cherry
The Sweet Cherry is a deciduous tree that’s part of the rose family. It creates enough shade to kill off other species during germination and early growth stages. Because of its sweet berries, native animals like to eat it, thus spreading the seed around to neighboring areas.

Sycamore Maple
The Sycamore Maple is a large deciduous, broad-leaved tree that is tolerant of a windy and coastal environment. It’s easy to establish and seeds itself, which means it can quickly take over any yard in your community.

Tree Of Heaven
The Tree Of Heaven is a fast growing, deciduous, exotic invasive tree that can germinate and grow in many different soil and site conditions. It can reach a height of 80 feet tall and is common in all kinds of habitats throughout our community. You’ll find it popping up in unlikely places—cracks and crevices of stone and cement patios, sidewalks, close to buildings and bridges. They can quickly destruct everything in its area.

White Poplar
White Poplar is a large, fast growing, relatively short-lived tree that is often found growing in open areas, particularly around parks, golf courses, and other large landscapes. It loves moist sites around waterways. It has distinctive five-lobed, dark green leaves with a white undersurface. The bark is gray to white with distinct dark diamond-shaped blotches. Its invasive traits enable them to spread aggressively.

An underlying trait of all invasive plants is fast growing. They are in constant look for water and will find it and take hold in the ground and spread to neighboring locations.

Underground, the best place to look for water is your water lines and sewer pipes. They are the first things a tree will attack when it isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from up above.

Do you have invasive trees in your yard? Our tree service can help you reclaim your yard and get back to the landscaping Oregon grows best.

Tagged as: Aggressive Tree Roots, Oregon tree service, Tree Roots

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