One of the reasons that screw piles have become a popular foundation choice for construction projects is their versatility and flexibility. They work well in a variety of conditions where other foundation types simply wouldn’t be viable. But screw piles do have some limitations. So, it makes sense to ask, can you use screw piles near trees?

Everything You Need to Know About Using Screw Piles Near Trees

Can you use screw piles near trees?

The simple answer is yes. As long as the soil type is suitable – and the only conditions really unsuited to screw piles are made up ground, solid bedrock and ground littered with obstructions – screw piles often make the perfect foundation for projects located near trees. The piles can be used around the most obvious roots, helping to secure the building without destabilising the tree or causing major damage to the root system. Whereas the excavation necessary for cement foundations could cause irreparable damage to the tree, potentially threatening the future viability of the structure.

Will future tree root growth damage screw pile foundations?

No. While screw piles should not inhibit the growth of future tree roots, neither will the roots damage the piles. The roots will travel around the piles, just as tree roots grow around rocks and other obstacles in the soil. Unlike cement foundations, which can be weakened by growing tree roots, if positioned sensibly, screw piles will reach down into the soil layer below the reach of the tree roots. Ensuring that compression, tension, and capacity remain steady.

Will screw piles damage tree roots?

This depends entirely upon how you position your screw piles. Screw pile shafts are relatively slim. So, while the piles will almost inevitably damage some tree roots, if you position your screw piles correctly – avoiding significant tree roots of 25mm in diameter or above – they are highly unlikely to cause major damage to tree roots. In fact, by aerating the soil, screw piles actually hold the potential to aid root growth.

Are there any other considerations before using screw piles near trees?

Before undertaking any construction work near trees, you need to check whether any of the trees have a tree preservation order (TPO). And whether you are working in a root protection area (RPA). If not, you are free to work. But if either of these is in place, you will need to check the details of the order before commencing any form of construction. However, you will often find that screw pile installation is permissible, even when a TPO is in place. As screw piles provide the least disruptive and invasive solution. Partly because the potential for hand installation also means that there is less possibility for damage to occur, than if groundworks vehicles are used.

Screw piles have a lot of potential uses. From timber frame construction to the erection of water structures. They are strong and versatile, and are known to have a relatively low environmental impact. And when it comes to construction projects near trees, there are few better options.

Get in touch with UK Helix to discuss your next screw pile project.  

Disclaimer –Information in this blog does not in any way constitute building advice or guidance for private or commercial building projects.

Call Now