What is the general rule of thumb you use to decide if a tree is too close to a house? Within 15 feet? 20 Feet?

I go by the limbs with the knowledge that most species will have a root system that extends out as far as the limb. When a limb is overshadowing a structure, the roots are pushing against or under the foundation.

Not only do my recommendations address the removal of the tree, but the stump (if left in the ground) can draw termites to the structure as well.

Rule of thumb: the root system usually extends as far at the tree branches.

The gravity of the problem depends on tree species. I think Jim’s got a good rule of thumb about the typical root spread.

Thank you Kenton…

A hybrid poplar grows straight up and the roots grow 50-60 feet to the side, depending on the source of moisture.

Now there ain’t no moisture under houses, as we all know.

When will Municipal Inspectors quit with the “rule-of-thumb” and stick to the facts?

Actually, there can be sources of moisture beneath the home.

Yes you can have roots and moisture under a house . It all depends on soil type and location relative to conditions of grade . I have seen roots through basement walls and floors .:smiley:

I did an inspection about 4-5 years ago for a sale by owner. The home had numerous large trees in close proximity of the home. I noted in report.

The basement was dry at the time of inspection but we had heavy rains that year and the basement flooded. The roots were in portions of the drainage. There were some legal issues with this case, of course I was involved. ( I documented the trees but was not enough)

I note trees close to home, in contact with home and I also note that I can not determine the condition of below ground drainage.

If there are large trees in the front yard they can damage below ground lines, pipes.

I note leaning trees, wooded lots for insect control.

Trees can be very problematic. Gutter clogging, moss on roofs, algea on siding, branches damaging roof, trim, roots damaging foundations, garages and yes moisture intrusion. But most off all blocking, breaking below ground drainage.

Trees can also be adventagious for shading. I have a large Ash tree that helps big time with my cooling expenses.

I have maples in the back that clog my gutters every spring and fall.

I had a locust tree in the front that damaged my water line. It took 3 years for the roots to stop growing new sprouts.

Just my 2 cents.
I have some verbiage and illustration(s) if you would like it.

Keep in mind that the info at the above link is not necessarily geared towards protection of homes, but more for tree health. My opinion is that if you make a statement about tree placement, you should be ready to cite a reputable source. I do not believe that anyone will dispute the Arbor Day Foundation’s recommendations.