Living around a forest of trees has its advantages. Trees provide shade during hot summers and, of course, put on a beautiful display of colors in the fall. But your roof may not have the same fondness, especially if the trees near your home receive little maintenance.

Here are five reasons why you should pay close attention to your trees and take the proper steps to mitigate any problems.

Branches Scratch Shingles

Even thin overhanging branches can scratch up your shingles when they sway in the wind. Although manufacturers adhere the granules well to the shingles, they can’t withstand constant abrasion without coming loose. Granules protect the underlying asphalt from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Once they’ve delaminated, the shingles will age rapidly until they cease to protect the waterproofing underlayment between the decking boards and the shingles.

Branches Cause Roof Damage

Be sure to trim back branches before they grow too close to the roof. Large limbs can break off and puncture your roof. If they’re already weak from age or prior damage, an ice storm event or rare snow storm can do them in. If the branch is large and heavy enough, it can break more than just your decking boards; this is why you don’t allow thick limbs to grow over the roof.

Weakened Trees Fall

Falling limbs can wreak enough havoc, but if a whole tree topples over, you’re likely to suffer substantial damage not only to the roof but to the walls, as well. If you spot signs of rot anywhere on the tree, be sure to call a professional arborist for an evaluation. It may be costly to have the tree cut down, but think what you would save by preventing the tree from crashing into your house.

Trees Make Great Animal Highways to Your Attic

While many animals make their homes in trees, they would love to set up housekeeping in your attic instead. The sheltered space above your head protects them from predators and offers soft, warm insulation with which to make a nice nest and raise a new family year after year. They can easily breach vents to enter the attic. Make sure you don’t lay out a red carpet invitation by allowing trees to grow too close to the home. Squirrels need only the most slender of branches to reach their destination.

Pine Needles Trap Moisture

Since pine needles usually fall straight down, unlike leaves that will blow to your roof from all over the county, it’s important to keep the pine trees far enough away to not drop needles onto your roof. When they clump in piles on the shingles, moisture can’t evaporate quickly. Asphalt roofing products work very well as long as water can drain quickly. Otherwise, it begins to eat away at the asphalt and adhesives, deteriorating the shingles and non-synthetic under-layments.

Enjoy your trees, but make sure they don’t interfere with the integrity of your roof. Keep them trimmed back and far enough away from your home for your own safety and peace of mind.