Verbage for trees

What do you say as far as removal of trees that have been in place for 22 years? Or do you just recommend a root barrier and trimming branches and leaves away from roof, walls, etc? These are mostley oaks with some pines.





A tree limb is threatening the roof eaves, and should be removed or trimmed by an arborist before it damages the eaves or roof.

There are tree limbs overhanging the residence that should be trimmed or monitored to insure that they do not impact or damage the roof or its components.

Vegetation is in contact with the house roof. The vegetation should be trimmed to prevent damage to roof shingles.

Vegetation is in contact with the house exterior, which may damage the siding and/or windows. Vegetation close to the foundation will limit ventilation of the crawl space, if present. The vegetation should be trimmed to prevent these issues.

The roots of mature trees may have an adverse effect on the house, and you may wish to have the tree removed.

Verbage…well if you are a tree hugger, it would be;

House is restricting growth of trees…recommend that house be removed by
a professional contractor specializing in removing house without damaging trees.
Further evaluation warranted by a certified tree hugger once work is complete.

: )

What I say about trees depends on the problem. I have separate narratives for potential root problems, roof debris and overhanging limbs which may cause injury or damage.

What problem do you want to address?

The confusion I get into when trying to explain this issue to the buyer or correct verbage in the report. do you advise the client (with my pics of the oaks) that the trees may need to be removed or would you advise putting in a root barrier or simply recommend consistent watering. If the trees have been in place for 20+ yrs isn’t a barrier or simple removal going to cause the home to shift significantly?


Are you an Arborist? If not you should defer it to one if you are not an expert. The fact that you suggested removing them without that expertise would be beyond your scope of inspection in my opinion.

Would someone with experience in dealing with trees near the home please jump in. I did not post the question in order to get the obvious answer of defer it to an arborist. Sure, I am not an arborist but I would like to be informed.

At once time when I was building in Va., they had a 6 ft rule however I look at it on a case by case situation.

Outside the trimming issue (which is up to the homeowner to maintain since they can do something about that) what is important is to consider the drainage around the home or even in the crawlspace.

Roots are spreading out looking for water…if that is around or under the foundation then one needs to aware of same.

With that said, as much as you may not like it…the best advise, other then general…since after all we are often referred to as generalist in the various trades we inspect…is to defer to an arborist when you are unsure about the condition of the tree or as to how it might impact the home…no shame in that.



Here I mostly comment on trees overhanging/touching roofing.

“Roots growing from a tree near the foundation may cause foundation damage.
Although no sign of damage was visible at the time of the inspection, damage may occur underground, leaving no visible evidence.
The inspector recommends evaluation by a qualified arborist to help determine the need for action to prevent foundation damage.”

This is a situation in which I know that I don’t know enough to protect the client. What an experienced arborist can tell from looking at a tree is pretty amazing.

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Thanks. That was the info. I was seeking. It will help me to explain just why they would need an arborist.

Sometimes there will be damage caused by roots and more work needed-
costs involved,not just removing the roots/tree,as in follwong pictures.

That root caused the cracks which then allowed water to enter block wall which then came out in the basement along the floor-wall joint.

Another house,root against wall under driveway.Somebody tarred along driveway/house and patched and painted inside wall/crack…this did nothing other than mask the crack.

Root can cause PARGING to crack,loosen,deteriorate and then allow water to enter basement

First, any tree in the fall zone that is large enough to do serious damage, even if it looks pristine gets called out as a potential hazard under the right conditions. As a blow over in the wind or a fire hazard. I advise consulting an arborist to advise on proper tree care and removal.

(I have to admit that so far every tree I’ve ever seen in the fall zone of the house around here had some feature that let me easily call it a hazard that needs removal.)

If the tree is visibly impaired, shows any sign of infestation , rot , dead limbs , is a mature tree or is a split trunk I call it out as a hazard that should be removed. Please consult a qualifed tree removal contractor to remove the tree.

Sidenote: Had a client who was a tree-hugger. Didn’t take my advice about the tree being mature and ready to be removed. Next winter it came down and took out his garage, My definitive call out made it impossible to do other then admit I told him and he didn’t listen.

I would like to add this about trees.

An arborist is great for pruning, identification, disease.

One of the biggest problems is clogged/broken/damaged below ground drainage pipes. An arborist is no good for that.

I make sure my clients are aware of the potential issues of tree roots.
If I see a large tree in close proximity of the structure on the front yard or tree lawn I have verbiage and disclaimers in my report.

I have recommended having below ground drainage (sanitary and storm) professional scoped and it has saved a few clients some big expenses. Costs about $350 for the scan.

Thanks John, Donald,and David for all of the helpful info. Another example of why this board is so helpful for our business’