Here in Hillsborough County, Tampa Florida we have beautiful tree lined boulevards, that can be seen in almost every residential area. Hillsborough’s trees bring value to our community including increased property values, desirable aesthetics, and an eco-friendly footprint we can be proud of. Unfortunately, these tree lined boulevards often come with one serious down fall, root damage to the sidewalks. As the trees mature the root systems expand and become stronger, pushing up on the sidewalks’ concrete slabs causing cracks and raised edges that create an eyesore for neighborhoods and a hazard to pedestrians.

If this is an issue in your neighborhood, chances are you’ve already started looking into having the sidewalk repaired. However, simply repairing the sidewalk is not a long-term solution, unless you want to have to keep paying to repair the sidewalk. The tree roots are not going to stop growing so chances are you will have to repair it again in a couple of years. There are better more efficient solutions available to homeowners.

How to Stop Tree Roots from Damaging Your Sidewalks

Sidewalks damaged by tree roots create hazardous conditions for the residents of Hillsborough. Cracks and raised slabs serve as obstacles that can cause tripping related accidents for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. To prevent tree roots in your neighborhood from creating perilous walking conditions, you will need to start at the root of the problem, quite literally.

Tree roots breaking up asphalt road.The most effective solution for dealing with tree roots is redirection, using a root barrier. A root barrier is a mechanical guide used to redirect and control the direction of tree root growth. Once your contractor has removed the damaged concrete slabs, your arborist can use an air spade to excavate the tree roots. Once the trees’ roots have been exposed, the arborist will then be able to perform any necessary root pruning before installing a root barrier. The root barrier will be placed in such a manner as to direct the tree roots down and away from your sidewalk.

A properly installed root barrier can be a very effective method for preventing future tree root damage. However, depending on the extensiveness of the trees’ root system your arborist and contractor may suggest additional strategies, in addition to the root barrier, to aid in preventing a re-occurrence, such as using rebar to reinforce the concrete slabs.

Lastly, in some instance you may need to have the tree removed. However, tree removal should always be a last resort. Not only is having a tree removed the less environmentally friendly method but, it is more expensive in the long run. You must take into consideration the costs associated with having the tree removed, grinding the stump, and the planting of a new tree. However, sometimes tree removal is the best option. In the event this is the case you will need to get permission from the city first and you should consult a Certified Arborist before replanting.

Protect Your Sidewalks & Plan Ahead to Prevent Tree Root Damage

Prevention is the key to saving thousands in the long run. When preparing to plant a new tree on the boulevard between your sidewalk and the street, do a little research or contact your local arborist for advice. The type of tree you choose to plant will play a huge part in determining whether you are going to have an issue with tree roots. In addition, installing a root barrier during the initial planting, before the root system has a chance to mature, is the most efficient method for prevention.

Do you have tree root damage to your sidewalk or need advice on planting a new tree on the boulevard? Contact your Certified Arborist at Tree Medics today for a consultation.