Don't' Let the Mighty Banyan Be the Bane of Your Home! Curb Appeal Advice

Real Estate Agent with HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 RS-76763

There are dangers lurking beneath the curb:

A well groomed Banyan

Ficus microcarpa, also known as Chinese Banyan, Malayan BanyanCurtain 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 grChinese Banyan Rootsound 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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HI Pro Realty LLC - REALTORS®, PROPERTY MANAGERS® is a boutique brokerage firm offering responsive, dedicated, and professional Real Estate Sales and Management Services in Honolulu, Hawaii. 




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Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Kimo~  I think it is ironic how such beautiful trees can have root sytems that can be so destructive!

Oct 21, 2010 11:03 AM #1
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

Hello, Kimo!  What a spectacular tree - not unlike Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack of American folk lore - LOL!  A very thoughtful post, and something even we here in th enortheast can listen to.  Large trees need to have ther roots go somewhere, so be wary of planting them near foundations, walks, driveways, etc.  Good to see you - Julie

Oct 21, 2010 11:31 AM #2
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Kimo- Glad to see you here at AR; been too long!  I loved your information on the Banyan tree, one of my favorites here in South Florida.  We have to protect these beautiful works of nature, and knowing their growth habits will help. 

Oct 21, 2010 12:40 PM #3
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Aloha! Welcome Back~missed your posts so much Kimo!! The Banyon Tree is a favorite and one we always enjoy when we are in the Islands. Great information you have given me-thanks.

Oct 21, 2010 02:08 PM #4
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Many trees in general can cause issues with our foundations as we're also finding in the North Texas market Kimo. We're having root barriers installed next month to keep our growing oaks from causing damage to our foundation.  I recall the big banyans in FL too and know how messy they can be.  Thank you for such an informative post!

Oct 22, 2010 11:26 AM #5
Michelle Drewry
Signature Real Estate Group - Henderson, NV
Realtor - Signature Real Estate Group

I have a friend who lives in a nearby city that is known for its trees.  In fact, it is called the City of Trees.  Unfortunately, the trees are protected, especially the Oak Tree.  One oak grew up and over into the garage & they were not allowed to remove the tree.  This tree lifted the roof off the garage and pushed the garage off its foundation at one end.  Still they were told they would have to build a new garage.  I have seen first hand what damage can be done.  Thanks for some good information on caring for trees.

Oct 23, 2010 05:42 AM #6
Kimo Stowell
HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 - Honolulu, HI
REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i

Aloha Vickie, Change is an inevitable fact of the natural world and destruction is it's catalyst. Thanks for visiting.

Aloha Julia, The Banyan is a great tree to have in expansive spaces so that it can really grow, but with all living creatures we must learn to cohabitate respectfully, and understand our responsibilities in the matter. Mahalo for the comment.

Aloha Kathy, It's good to be back, I do miss my AR cohorts! In tropical climes the growth rate is much faster as there is no "winter" or dormant months so keeping yourself informed of what's growing in your yard, especially if your new to the property, is very important.

Aloha Cathy, Thanks for the welcome back, it's good to stick a toe in the rain now and then. I like your new Pic!

Aloha Karen, Mature landscaping can be a wonderful and valuable addition to a property but because they grow so slowly comparative to our perceptions we can sometimes forget that they are expanding which can cause big problems. Oaks are iconic trees and Texans like things big, so I can imagine the oaks of Texas are well loved.

Aloha Michelle, I guess it's better to loose the garage than the house but it just goes to show fore-thought is very important when planning landscaping. Thanks for your comment.

Oct 26, 2010 09:16 AM #7
April Hayden-Munson
Brookfield, WI
Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate

Aloha Kimo!  I loved your article, I would steer clear of this tree.  WAY too much maintenance for me.  Give me some pine trees that are pretty, stay green year round and have little to take care of!

Nov 22, 2010 06:46 AM #8
Kimo Stowell
HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 - Honolulu, HI
REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i

Aloha April, thanks for commenting. Landscaping in tropical environments usually requires alot of maintainence, but depending on your elevation, you can find places on the islands that look and feel, like the mainland with Conifer trees and cooler climes.


Nov 23, 2010 07:06 AM #9
Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind
KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate - Tucson, AZ

HI KIMO!  Oh yes - the Banyan Tree!  My dad has a condo on Banyan Drive in Hilo and those are some beautiful trees - good shade too!  These are great points for newcomers to the area (and for locals) to know to keep their hales looking even better! -- Gab

Nov 24, 2010 05:36 AM #10
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing. 

 The colors of winter in Maryland. Life is good!

Feb 11, 2011 08:58 AM #11

If a Banyan tree ate my condo, I'd cut down the CONDO and move into the TREE! Do Hawaiian homeowner associations allow THAT? Lol. Come to mama!!!

Sep 04, 2015 05:51 PM #12
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

Trees are beautiful and make our homes look beautiful, but yes, it can make your yard messier:) 

Oct 11, 2017 09:27 PM #14
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Kimo Stowell

REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i
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