There are dangers lurking beneath the curb:
Ficus microcarpa, also known as Chinese Banyan, Malayan Banyan, Curtain figor Indian Laurel:
Hawaii, Southern California and many other tropical climes around the world have just the right humidity levels to produce some of natures largest tree varieties of which The Chinese Banyan is excellent example. These gentle giants, with their sprawling canopies that soar as high as 60 feet in the air with a diameter that can reach hundreds of feet, are beautiful to behold and truly awe inspiring. These amazing trees produce aerial roots that over time will reach the earth and start another trunk, eventually expanding the size of the tree exponentially. Often called the "Tree of Life" these massive trees characterized by the tangle of exposed roots and dangling aerials provide safe habitats and sustenance to a multitude of birds, insects and small animals; so much so that they can create an Eco system all their own.
Unfortunately for sellers and buyers, the Banyan can be the Bane of your home if you do not take precautionary steps to protect your investment from it's unmitigated growth. Paying attention to where a Banyan tree sits on a property is very important as both the canopy and root system can produce some annoying problems that can eventually lead to costly disasters unless nipped at the bud. It is important to remember that the root system and canopy expanse in most trees are roughly the same size. So what you see above your head you can safely bet expands in the same dimension beneath your feet. Banyans have an aggressive root system that quickly expands into porous material in it's never ending search for water. That means materials like concrete septic systems and sewer conduits are very vulnerable to roots that poke into the porous surface of concrete while searching for water. Once a root gets a foot hold in a crack or fissure it expands; cracking and eventually destroying the concrete allowing for more roots to move quickly into pipes and septic systems clogging them up with a jumbled mess of twisted roots. Roots that grow along the surface of the ground can tear up lanais, driveways, and foundations so it's best to keep a healthy distance between your home and any Banyans making sure to cut arieals, pull up seedlings and cut back the canopy if it begins to expand over the roof of the home.
Banyans that grow too close to the home can cause other annoyances as well. Banyans produce a round berry fruit the size of a large marble that when ripe will drop to the ground or roof. Aside from the constant thud of the berries the seeds can stick in roofing and siding materials and begin to grow; destroying sections of roofing or siding if left unattended over time. In addition Birds who make their home in the canopy love to eat the berries and consequently "poop" at their convenience which means cars, yard items and outdoor furniture can get covered in you know what.
The Banyan Tree is a beautiful and amazing addition to any yard that is large enough to allow it to grow without it over taking the structures on it or beneath it. If you treat the Banyan as a member of the family; grooming it regularly, plucking and pruning and watching where it wanders. The bane can become a blessing; adding spectacular Curb Appeal to your yard.
Don't' Let the Mighty Banyan Be the Bane of Your Home! Curb Appeal Advice
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