Could the Root of a Grapevine Damage a House\’s Foundation?

... Grapevines are attractive additions to the home landscape.

Your home may have foundation problems if cracks on interior walls are evident or you find cracks in a stone or brick fireplace wall. Foundation damage also appears as nails "popping" out of gypsum wall board. Foundation problems can be caused by soil settling, pooling or standing water around the foundation or invasive plant roots. Grapevines can be safely planted within 3 to 5 feet of the foundation.

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Shallow Roots

Grapevine roots are not aggressive and do not grow as vigorously as many tree roots do. Trees should always be planted as far away from the foundation as the height the tree will reach at maturity. Tree roots are typically as deep and wide as the height and width of the tree. Grapevines have fairly deep root systems compared to other landscape plants, but they present low root densities. More than 60 percent of the roots of a grapevine are in the top 3 to 6 inches of the soil. Many roots are visible on the surface of the soil.

Grapevine Roots Adapt

Grapevine roots do not damage barriers, walls or foundations. During growth and development, if a grapevine root encounters a barrier, the root will continue to grow, spreading out in another direction to escape confinement.

Types of Grapevine Root

Grapevines present two distinctive type of roots. Deep soil penetrating roots are commonly known as "sinkers." Sinker roots normally grow from 2 to 3 feet long. Horizontal roots are called "feeders." The development of the root system is dependent on the climatic region, soil, moisture and grapevine variety.

Grapevine Cultivation

Plant grapevines 4 to 8 feet apart. They can be trained to climb a fence, wall, trellis or arbor. Grapes prefer a full sun location and nutrient rich, well-drained soil. Newly planted vines will take three to four years before they bear fruit. By planting several different varieties, the home gardener can spread the harvest over several weeks. Grapevines add visual interest and shade and are useful for landscape privacy screening.