Nuisance Trees

Trees are beautiful and essential for life, but occasionally a tree can become a nuisance. The majority of trees cause no problems to anyone and are a vital source of oxygen and home to countless varieties of wildlife. However, if you have a tree that’s perilous close to your property, you might be aware of it beginning to cause problems due to the roots. Understanding the problems caused by roots, soil type and how deep your foundations are, will help to identify all possible solutions.


This occurs primarily on shrinkable clay soil and mainly affects properties built before 1950 that will have much shallower foundations. Structural damage can occur due to encroaching tree roots. These are also the kinds of properties that are likely to have much more mature trees.

Physical Damage

A tree that sits too close to any property, old or new, can cause damage from overhanging branches. The branches can rub against roof material and guttering, particularly in windy weather. Roots growing outwards are also strong enough to lift paving stones and similar lightweight materials such as that which are used to construct sheds, summerhouses and garages. For a Tree Surgeon Wimborne, visit

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Roots can often enter drains causing blockages. A leak from a blocked drain can form cavities where the water seeps into the soil. The older the drain, the more susceptible it is to such problems due to worn seals and stiff joints. Tree roots will naturally head in the direction of available water which is why they grow into drains. A watertight drain will not attract roots.

Shrinkable clay soil

In periods of little rain, trees can significantly dry out soil under foundations causing the soil to shrink. Any movement in the soil under a property can lead to issues of subsidence and cracks forming in the structural integrity. Doors and window surrounds are often the first noticeable sign of cracking caused by subsidence. Most soil types are unlikely to experience issues with large trees damaging properties, but heavy clay poses an increased risk. The bigger the tree, the greater its need for water uptake so a tree very close to a building might cause issues.

The decision to remove a tree should only be made in circumstances where obvious damage is occurring. Most trees in built-up areas will never cause any problems to nearby properties. If you do have a large tree close to a building or public highway, it’s a good idea to have it surveyed professionally every couple of years. This will check the health of the tree and determine whether any felling or pruning is required. A tree on your land is your responsibility and the land owner is also liable for any damage caused.