Trees are an intrinsic part of life on earth. They provide the oxygen we breathe, a wide variety of food, and add to beauty and color to the landscape.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the construction of new homes, many trees are removed to make space for the building. Often, these are very old trees that have a history all of their own and cutting them down is a reluctant decision that many people make out of a feeling of necessity.
If you’re in the planning stages of building a new home and facing the prospect of having to remove one or more beautiful trees, then you will be happy to know there is another option. Architects all over the world are designing homes that not only preserve trees, but also make them an integral part of the home’s design.
This happy compromise lets you have a home in the desired location on your land without having to remove a much-loved tree. It also gives you the opportunity to create a unique, beautiful, and highly personal home. Before you begin to plan a home which incorporates a tree or trees into the design, here are four questions you should ask an experienced arborist about the tree or trees in question.
- Is The Root Structure Solid?
Roots are like the arteries of the tree, and a healthy root system is essential for providing nutrients and moisture to keep the tree in top condition. Roots also anchor the tree securely to the ground. For these reasons, your arborist should complete an investigation on how healthy and secure your tree’s root system is before you plan to build your house around it.
If the tree’s root structure is damaged or unstable, it could mean the tree won’t be structurally sound enough to use within your building. A tree with a compromised root system could crash through your home after periods of high wind or heavy rain.
- Are There Any Insect Colonies That I Should Be Concerned About?
Trees don’t exist in isolation from the rest of the natural world and they are often the home to a variety of tree dwelling creatures both big and small. It’s quite normal to find that your tree has a bird’s nest or a squirrel or two in residence but it’s the very small inhabitants that might give you cause for concern.
Many insects, including termites and the boring larvae of many beetles and moths, are destructive for your tree. These insects can weaken the tree and can sometimes kill it entirely. This is bad news for your tree, and it can also be bad news for your home.
A dead or compromised tree may cause structural damage to your home if limbs break off or the entire tree snaps due to insect infestation. An infected tree may also introduce the pests to your home, which is a real problem if you are using timber as a building material. Wood-eating insects don’t discriminate and will happily munch away at your home’s timber features.
- Can You Identify Any Limbs That Pose a Safety Risk?
Trees are unquestionably beautiful and serene elements of nature, but they can and do cause injury and death when large limbs break off. Although death by tree limb is a relatively minor risk in comparison to other accidents, it’s a risk that’s not worth taking if you’re planning to live directly underneath a tree with large limbs above your head.
Your arborist can assess the safety of the major limbs of your tree before you start to build around it. Limbs can become a safety risk due to disease, insect infestation, or damage from stormy weather. Any limbs which pose a risk of falling will need to be safely and professionally removed before you start construction.
- What Special Care Will the Tree Need?
Partially enclosing a tree within a building has the potential to negatively impact its health and lifespan. The amount of light, water, and nutrients that a tree receives may be impacted by the structure of your home and your tree may require extra care in order to thrive.
Your arborist can help you to understand the specific needs of your tree variety and help you to put together a care plan to ensure its continued good health. They can also offer you professional advice on how different designs for your home can provide the least amount of disruption to your tree’s natural growth and self-care.
Before you begin the process of designing your house, contact the team at Smitty’s Tree and Arbor Service. They’ll be able to assess your tree and answer all of these questions plus any more you might have about the practicality and specifics of using your tree as an element of your new home.