The Q&A Archives: Aggressive Root Systems

Question: What trees and shrubs should be avoided when planting near a house because of aggressive root systems? I was told maple tree's have extremely aggressive root systems but not all varieties, which varieties do not? What kind of damage could roots produce?

Thank you in advance.

Answer: Nicole,

I'm not sure how much I would distinguish between varieties. The larger the plant the more of a root system it will have to support the topgrowth. Some species, especially silver maples, are prone to surface root development. But I don't recommend planting any tree too close to the home. The branches tend to grow into eaves and scrape the shingles while roots grow by the foundation and can push on it as they increase in size. This is especially problematic when roots go under a concrete structure such as a driveway, sidewalk or foundation and then lift it as they grow. Keep your trees 20 feet or more from the home to avoid all such problems.

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