Should You Prune Or Remove Tree Branches Overhanging The House?

Shade trees can become too large, overhanging the roof and threatening damage in the event a branch breaks off. Sometimes the problem can be solved with proper pruning, while in other cases the best option is to remove the tree.

House Proximity

The proximity of the tree to the house is one of the more important factors that influence which option is best. For most landscape trees a distance of at least 15 feet between trunk and foundation is preferred, but it can vary depending on the tree species. Although it may be the overhanging branches that first raised the concern, close proximity issues can lead to foundation damage from the roots so removal is the best option.

Mature Size

Find out the expected mature size of the tree. If it is already at its mature size and the trunk isn't too close to the home, then pruning is a suitable choice if you would like to keep the tree. If the mature size will put the trunk too close to the house or result in an overly large crown overhanging the roof, then it may be a better option to have the tree removed. You may be able to relocate it to a better area if it was planted recently and is still small enough to recover.

Tree Stability

Consider the overall health and stability of the tree. If it's leaning, especially toward the home, then prompt removal is necessary so it doesn't fall and cause damage. Trunks that move a lot or churn the soil during windy weather indicate weak roots and a fall hazard, so once again removal is best. The form of the tree may also affect stability. For example, forked trunks are more likely to split apart, which can lead to half a tree laying on your roof instead of just an overhanging branch. Remove the tree if it can't be effectively pruned to a single trunk.

Crown Concerns

Take a look at the crown of the tree. Are the branches dense and crossing over each other? If so, then the branches are too dense and overgrown. This is a problem best fixed with thorough pruning to remove all the excess wood. This reduces the chances of branch loss and broken limbs falling on your roof. Long heavy, branches that overhang the roof should be pruned back so they don't pose a danger to your house. 

Contact a local company like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc.