Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Tree Risk Assessment

Q: How close is too close?

Wednesday, July 06, 2016  

Q: We planted a podocarpus 20 years ago next to our two-story house. Now there are roots growing throughout the area near the house, and the trees themselves are almost as tall as the house. I am concerned about the safety of having such large trees and foliage under the eaves and next to the stucco and windows, and I’m also concerned about the roots. Should we take these trees out, or is is okay to leave them so close to the house?

A: It is imposible to answer these questions thoroughly without someone actually visiting the site and assessing the situation. However, you are correct in assuming that foliage touching the building and roof can do damage. It is also possible that the roots might damage the foundation of the house, but this cannot be determined without an onsite inspection by a professional. I would recommend the following:

  1. Find a Consulting Arborist in your area to inspect the trees and their roots to determine if damage is likely to occur.
  2.  Trim the trees so that they are clear of the building and are not rubbing against the walls, eaves, or roof.

Responder: Jan Scow, RCA #382, Sherman Oaks, CA