When to Call for Tree Removal: Are Red Oak Roots Invasive? What About Other Invasive Trees?

When to Call for Tree Removal: Are Red Oak Roots Invasive? What About Other Invasive Trees?

Florida is home to over 500 invasive plant and animal species, and estimates state that it costs roughly $100 million a year to manage these aliens.

Fortunately, red oaks are not on this list. Red oaks are spectacular trees, reaching heights of over 70 feet and sporting bright ruby-colored leaves each fall.

However, thanks to the size and structure of these magnificent giants, they can cause problems for homeowners.

If you are googling ‘are red oak roots invasive’—you’re probably already aware of some of these!

Fortunately, there is no better place to get the deep dive on red oak trees than with your resident Venice, FL tree experts, so read on. You’re about to find out everything you need to know about the root systems of red oaks (as well as other invasive trees).

Are Red Oak Roots Invasive? Yes, They Are!

While red oaks are not invasive—their roots sure are!

To anchor themselves, these giants send out lateral roots that can span an area 4-7 times that of their crown. This is far greater than the average spread of tree roots, which is approximately 2-3 times the radius of most canopies.

So what does this mean for your property?

Because red oak roots extend so far out from the tree itself, this means they can suck in water and nutrients from a very large area. While this is great for the tree, your surrounding garden may take a hit. Nearby trees, shrubs, and plants will likely get fewer nutrients and water, which can impact their ability to thrive.

What’s more, if your red oak is positioned near to your house or another building, its roots may cause damage to the structure’s foundations.

The reason for this is that red oaks root systems are particularly shallow. Their roots grow mostly sideways. If there is a foundation in the way, the roots may begin to penetrate it.

Red oaks are also fast-growing trees (one of the reasons why they are so popular). This vigorous growth pattern means that the root systems are more capable of damaging foundations that some other tree species.

Besides causing foundation issues, oak tree roots are also notorious for damaging sewage and plumbing systems. Considering that replacing a sewer line can typically cost anywhere between $3,000-$6,000 (and in some case up to $25,00), this poses a substantial risk to your property.

Other Trees With Invasive Root Systems in Venice, FL

Besides the red oak, there are also a number of other trees in Venice, FL, and surrounds that have aggressive root systems.

Below are three common examples.

Brazilian Pepper Tree

Of course, we can’t speak about aggressive trees without mentioning the Brazilian pepper tree. A notorious invader in Florida, the Brazilian pepper tree grows rampantly in our warm climate and is incredibly hard to remove.

Besides having a very vigorous growth pattern, Brazilian pepper tree roots are also known to change the soil microbiome where they grow, reducing competition from other plants.

If you have a Brazilian pepper tree on your property, it is important that you have it removed as quickly as possible.


Like the red oak, magnolias are not an invasive species in Florida. While magnolia tree roots are not particularly aggressive, they can cause problems when planted too close to buildings and pipes.

In comparison to the red oak, the magnolia tree root system does not have nearly the same spread or vigor. However, you should still take care that you don’t plant magnolias in close proximity to buildings and buried pipes.

Surinam Cherry Trees

Once a popular garden tree in Florida, Surinam cherry trees are categorized as an invader species thanks to their ability to spread in wild areas and displace native trees.

Besides being an invasive species in general, Surinam cherry trees also have invasive root systems

Cherries are another family of trees that have a surface dominated root system. Unlike a tree that’s’ roots grow straight down, trees with surface dominated root systems can pose a danger to foundations, pipes, and landscaping even if their roots systems are not overly vigorous.

As it turns out, cherry trees do have quite vigorous root growth patterns and so should not be grown close to houses or sewer lines.

These are three trees other than the red oak whole root systems that can be invasive. Many of the classified invader tree species have aggressive roots. If you want to check whether any trees on your property are invasive, you can get in touch with us, or check this list of invasive plant species.

Alternative Tree With Roots that Don’t Spread

Are you are planning to plant a tree and want to avoid any species with vigorous root systems? Or perhaps you want to get a tree with an invasive root system removed and want a replacement with less vigorous roots?

If so, here are a few trees with roots that don’t spread:

  • Loblolly pine: a non-invasive tree that’s roots grow straight down
  • Magnolia: a small tree with a contained root system bearing attractive blossoms in the spring
  • Mimosa tree: a larger flowering tree with a naturally smaller root structure
  • Flowering dogwood: sports attractive blossom with a naturally contained root system

The above trees are ideal choices for gardens, as they will not disrupt landscaping, pipes, and foundations.

What to do About Invasive Trees and Problematic Roots

Are red oak roots invasive? Yes ma’am! As are the roots of a number of other common trees here in Florida.

If you are saddled with an out-of-control red oak that’s posing a danger to your pipes and foundation—or a mare’s nest of invasive trees—we’re the guys and girls you want to call.

Specializing in tree removal, we offer a full-service tree division. No tree is too large for us, and no project too big or too small. We have a passion for delivering exceptional customer service that is courteous, informed, and capable.

If we are the ones you want to work with, take a look at our tree removal services, or give us a call today. We look forward to discussing your tree project with you.

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