We all enjoy the sight of a tree in full bloom during the spring and summer months when the leaves are green and the branches are gently swaying in a gentle breeze on a sunny afternoon. When autumn arrives and the tree starts to shed, it creates the need to clean up the dead leaves and foliage in preparation for the winter months when all but the evergreens will lose all of their leaves until they begin their new growth in the following spring. The annual cycle of trees is not, however, always conducive to the state of health of your roof if you have a tall tree in close proximity to it. In this instructional article we demonstrate some of the ways in which the proximity of a tree can create the risk of potential damage or the occurrence of actual harm to the fabric and structure of your roof and the contents and occupants of the house.
Falling Trees and Branches
The onset of the autumn months marks the beginning of the worst of the weather types that we experience. In the autumn, this inevitably means wetter, windier weather. The combined effect of the weight that is added to the remaining leaves by the rainfall and the force of the wind can make the tree’s branches, if not the entire tree, potentially unstable and, if it is very close to the house, a potential cause of significant damage if a fall were to occur. A similar risk situation arises in the winter when the added weight of snow to the branches of a tree makes them especially susceptible to breaking. The damage that a falling tree or branch can cause is even greater if, like many houses do, yours has external power lines that enter via the roof.
Even if the branches of a nearby tree withstand the harsh winter weather, the wind can cause a tree’s branches to repeatedly rub against the roofing tiles causing both superficial damage and the risk of dislodging one or more. Clearly, if the roof covering is compromised it is likely to result in water ingress as soon as the next fall of rain or snow arrives.
As we have already said, the onset of autumn marks the time when trees begin to shed their leaves. This can have an immediate impact upon the gutters and drainpipes, causing blockages which might ultimately result in the trapped water finding an escape route through a breach in the house’s outer shell and into the interior.
If a tree is too close to the house it raises the risk that land-based animals such as squirrels and other small rodents will use the branches as a conduit into the property as a haven during the colder months or, in the spring, as a nesting place. Whilst it is impossible to fully protect against bird invasion, the steps that we recommend below will go a long way towards avoiding a similar invasion by small mammals.
The most important protective measure is to keep a close watch on any tree that is close to your house. If its branches grow to within six feet they should be trimmed down or tree topped. If the tree belongs to you it should not be a problem to engage a local tree surgeon, so long as it is not protected by a tree preservation order. If it belongs to a neighbour or the local council, their permission will need to be obtained. If they do not give it, there is not much that you can do, although it may be worth reminding them that you will hold them liable for any damage that is caused to your house by the nuisance posed by their invasive tree.
If you want any advice about whether the trees close to your house are likely to cause damage to the roof, why not contact us at www.therooferssw.com for a free inspection and quote.