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What should I do about tree branches on the roof?

Honey locust tree branches on roof of Toronto house

Tree branches can cause damage to homes

A slowly creaking tree branch in the night: it could be the soundtrack to a horror movie, but instead it’s your bedroom, home office, or your child’s room. Tree branches on the house can be very annoying, and even scary. You may wonder, “Why is my tree always making noise?”

Some creaking or groaning is normally, especially in windy conditions, but constant noise may indicate a problem.  You may also wonder if your home or family is at risk from big tree limbs on the roof on or over your roof. Tree branches on gutters, eavestroughs, shingles and skylights can be loud and cause damage. Though most long branches aren’t at risk of falling or breaking on a healthy tree, it’s good to have them checked by a professional arborist and trimmed back.

Depending on the size of the tree branches and their location, overgrown tree branches may make a lot of creaking noises. They can rub against roofs, siding, gutters or skylights. An arborist can climb the tree to determine find any damage to your house, roof, or skylight, and prune or trim back the branches.

Squirrels on roof of house with solar panels 

Other Reasons For Concern

Aside from the noise, there are other reasons for concern. Tree branches touching the roof can scrape against shingles in windy weather, causing your shingles to deteriorate over time. Deciduous tree branches close to your roof can lead to buildup of leaves on the roof or gutters becoming clogged with leaves. Leaf buildup which can cause mould or deterioration and extra cleanup in the fall. Squirrels and raccoons can even use tree limbs on or near your roof as a highway across your house!

Branches on siding can also cause damage or mould, while branches on skylights could cause the skylight to break, especially in the case of a falling branch. Branches covering your windows or skylights may also interfere with your views and light levels in your home.

Will tree limbs fall on my home?

If the affected tree branches are suffering from damage or disease, then your home may be at greater risk from a falling branch. A thunderstorm, ice storm or strong winds could cause a branch to break and land on your home. As summer or winter storm seasons approach, overhanging tree limbs need maintenance to avoid the possibility of breakage.

In the summer of 2020, the City of Toronto and the GTA had a lot of summer storms and tree damage. Summer 2021 is predicted to be very hot and stormy by the Farmers Almanac.  Hazardous branches should be dealt with by a professional to minimize risk to your home and family in poor weather conditions. Regular pruning also ensures your tree is healthy and looking its best.

Arborist in Scarborough trimming tree after storm damage

Tree branches can become damaged over time due to disease, pests, previous storm damage, or weight. Lack of pruning, water or fertilization can also cause your tree to weaken. A tree that was originally planted too close to the house may decline in health as it grows, and a building constructed too close to an existing tree can become unhealthy and weakened.

Trees should ideally be at least 3-6 metres (10-20 feet) from houses. Noise from branches rubbing together can also be hazardous for the tree, causing bark to wear away and resulting in wounds on the tree, which leaves it more vulnerable to pests and disease.

Branches From Neighbour’s Tree Hitting House

What if the tree overhanging your house isn’t your tree, but a neighbour’s? Municipal bylaws allow you to prune trees located on a neighbouring property that are causing a hazard to your own property, so long as any tree work is conducted without damaging the tree or trespassing. It’s best if you are able to discuss the issue with your neighbour, as the City of Toronto recommends, and you’ll want to ensure the branch removal or pruning is conducted by a certified arborist to avoid damage to your neighbour’s property (the tree).

Trimming Trees Over Your House

Once you’ve found a qualified tree care professional to assess your tree, an arborist will determine the source of the tree branch noise or rustling and be able to cut back branches so that they’re no longer touching the building, leaving enough space that new growth won’t affect your home in the next few years. The pruning cost will depend on how much of the tree needs to be removed and how difficult your tree is to access. A very high roof or tight space can result in a more difficult pruning job.

And then, sit back, relax, and enjoy a night free of the horror movie-like sounds of creaking branches against your roof!

Need a professional to help silence noisy trees next to your home? Contact Vista Tree for a free consultation.