Do you know that mature trees in a landscaped yard can increase the home value by up to 19%, as shown by nationwide surveys? But remember, trees that are too close to your roof may cause structural damage or reduce the life of your shingles, resulting in expensive repair and maintenance.
- Risk of falling. If a tree is damaged or unstable, it may fall on your roof during a windstorm.
- Low-hanging branches. If you don’t prune your tree, its branches may hang over the roof and scratch the shingle’s outer protective layer.
- Falling branches. Even small tree branches can damage your property, particularly the windows and shingles. Allowing them to pile up on your roof can also lead to dents and scratches.
- Falling leaves, nuts, and fruits. When you allow the leaves and twigs to accumulate on your rooftop and rain gutters, the additional weight can spell disaster to their structural integrity. In addition, the debris may encourage moss and algae growth that can discolor your roof and shorten its lifespan.
- Animal access. Squirrels and other small animals may jump from the tree branch and onto your roof.
- Excessive shade. While mature trees can moderate summer temperature in your home, too much shade may lead to algae and mold growth. To combat this problem, you may want to consider algae-resistant shingles.
Ideal Distance Between Your Roof and Tree Branches
A good rule of thumb is to have at least a 6-feet distance between the branches and the rooftop. Thus, when you plant large trees make sure they are 20-30 feet away from your home.
You may also want to check with your homeowner’s insurance provider if they have specific requirements about tree distance. While insurers typically cover roof damage from trees, they may refuse to cover it if they find you were negligent, i.e., you allowed the tree to grow too close to your property, you did not conduct regular pruning, and you failed to treat or remove a diseased tree.
Tips on How to Prevent Roof Damage from Trees
- Prune the branches that are too close to the roof, or better yet, hire a professional arborist to remove them as they have the equipment to prevent damage during the trimming process.But if the trimming involves more than 25% of the tree size, you may want to remove it altogether because extreme pruning may cause it to die and fall over.
- Cut down unstable trees. But first, check with your arborist and local city bylaws because some species are protected, while some trees with certain trunk diameter cannot be cut down.
- Correct issues when a tree is still young. Minor pruning does less damage than large cuts and also encourages the young trees to develop stronger crotches, which are the junction between the trunk and branches.
- Clean up debris. Removing tree branches, dried leaves, needles, and nuts from the rooftop and rain gutter can prevent structural issues, mold, mildew, and discoloration on the shingles.