Stone walls - VEGETATION

Property owners and community members concerned about the well-being of walls in their vicinity should be mindful that the most important aspect of repair is prevention. It is best to monitor stone walls and detect problems as they develop, before major repairs are required. This includes keeping the wall free and clear of growth, other than lichen, because the root systems of vines and saplings can prove devastating to a wall’s support and structure.

It is not a good idea to let vines or brush get well rooted in a wall. The roots can slowly force stones apart. Each fall, cut back the grape vines, poison ivy and assorted brush plants that invade the walls.

Accumulations of leaves and other debris can collect water inside a wall, destroying its capacity to drain properly, then prying stones apart when the water freezes.

Trees and stone walls do not mix. Yet because the damage often happens slowly, it is rarely noticeable until it’s too late. Quietly adding an eighth of an inch in girth a year, a tree planted too close to a wall can grow enough to eventually knock part of it over. Plant accordingly, and remove volunteer saplings.