1. Bullet If the home has a septic system, roots of trees nearby will follow the outflow of water backwards into the drainfield and, eventually, into the septic tank, clogging the system.

  2. Bullet Trees close enough to a house that their roots can grow under the foundation and floor slab may damage the structure. While large roots of some species can cause uplift, it is more common that the leeching of water from under the structure by a maze of thirsty roots will cause settlement over time.

    Removal of the all the lateral roots near the surface of the soil on one side of a tree—during the construction of a new in-ground pool, for example—will weaken the tree’s resistance to lateral wind loads and cause it to fall in a storm. Also, trees that lean more than 15-degrees out of vertical may be dangerous, especially if they were originally growing vertically or there is uplifted soil on one side. Some species of trees that become unbalanced will develop a callous-like growth at the base on the weakened side called “reaction wood,” which is one way that a knowledgeable tree surgeon will recognize a problem.

    “You know, Gainesville is rated as one of the top ten cities for trees in U.S.,” says Robin Hargis, a certified arborist with Sky Frog Tree Service. “When I first moved here I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. But all those wonderful trees require maintenance.” It’s a good idea to look over all your trees periodically for any potential hazards, and large, older trees should be examined carefully from top to bottom. Robin also recommends having a professional  arborist inspect the trees on your property on a regular basis and whenever you notice an sign of a potential problem. 

   If you suspect a problem, call a tree surgeon that is registered as a Certified Master Arborist with the ISA (International Association of Arboriculture)—which means that he or she has passed testing and is well-educated in tree growth, diseases, and proper pruning techniques. The ISA provides a search app to find a local arborist at their website at http://www.isa-arbor.com/findanarborist/findanarborist.aspx.    

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.


Roof damage from fallen tree branch

Leaf debris buildup on flat roof

Dead trees

Leaf debris backing up gutter

Braches rubbing roof surface

Other blog posts about home safety:

  1. How can I prevent mold in my Florida winter home when I’m gone for the summer?

  2. Is there an adapter that can be placed on a two-slot receptacle to make it safe?

  3. How do I remove cigarette odor in a house?

  4. Why are window security bars dangerous?

  5. What is the right electric wire size for a home?

  6. How do you inspect a dryer vent?

  7. Is it common for an insurance company to require an inspection?

  8. Is a home inspection required?

  9. Why is creosote buildup in a chimney dangerous?

  10. What are the most common homeowner wiring mistakes?

  11. What if mold is found during the inspection?

  12. What can I do right now to prepare my house for a hurricane?

  13. What is radon? Should I be concerned about it in Gainesville?

  14. Is a bare bulb light in a closet alright?

  15. What do you inspect in the crawl space under a house?

  16. What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?

  17. How can I know how much damage there is inside a wall if the inspector found termites in the baseboard?

  18. Does wood rot spread? Is it contagious?

  19. How can formaldehyde gas in the house be a problem?

  20. When is a railing required for the edge of a deck or porch?

  21. What is the lighting requirement for stairs?

  22. Will the electric company remove branches rubbing against the overhead service lines to my home?

  23. What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

  24. What is the average lifespan of plywood siding?

  25. What is the steepest residential stair allowed?

  26. How can I tell if a window or glass door is safety glass?

  27. What should I do about a tree with roots running under my house?

  28. What are the green plastic discs in the ground around the house?

  29. What are the warning signs of a sinkhole?

  30. Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites

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