Tree Roots and Foundations

Q: Joe, you recommended I remove several sapling maples and black cherry trees that were growing near the house to protect the foundation. I have a Japanese maple that is about the same size. Should I remove it too?

A:The Japanese maple will not damage the foundation; it will not get large enough. Trees that are known to damage foundations are the big ones such as oaks, maples (full size like red maple and sugar maple), black cherry, gum. Trees that grow large above ground require a large root system below and what happens is that a tree root will find a little crack in the foundation and send in a root hair. Each year those little root hairs grow thicker. The pressure of a growing root is powerful enough to crack rock. Smaller trees, such as your Japanese maple will not grow large enough above ground to demand a root below ground that is large enough to cause a problem.
Joe Hertzler

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