Tree roots typically extend roughly 1 to 1 1/2 feet in a tree for every single inch of the width of the tree’s trunk, measured 4 feet in the ground. Because the soil under sidewalks is not compacted, roots grow there. Roots from a large tree growing too close to a concrete sidewalk may eventually buckle the concrete. There are limits on just how much you can prune tree root to repair a sidewalk without undermining the tree.
Pruning roots to prevent buckling a pavement is typically not a good option. Trees need their roots for support and ff you remove them, the tree could be more likely to toppling from the finish. If you remove roots less than 2 inches in diameter, then they may only grow back. If you prune too many roots, the tree might discard branches or die. You shouldn’t prune a root more than 1 or 2 inches in diameter that is within five times the width of the trunk. This means you shouldn’t prune a root that is within 75 inches in a trunk that is 15 inches wide. If you prune a tree to restrict its size, you’ll also restrict the spread of its roots.
Repairing or Replacing a Sidewalk
If you do not mind a hump in your sidewalk, you can simply tear out a part of damaged pavement and replace it. This is called bridging. After removal, replce the damaged sidewalk above a layer of 3 or 4 inches of fine to medium crushed stone or gravel. Roots won’t rise in gravel. Alternatively, in case you’ve got a splendid shade tree and do not want to risk harming it by fortifying its roots, you can re-route your pavement around its roots.
You can block the growth of roots under a pavement by installing a root barrier made of geotextile fabric or plastic at the edge of the pavement. A root barrier should be splitting least 1 foot deep and be 5 to 6 feet wide because it faces the tree. A root barrier eliminates heaving by forcing the roots to grow deep under the pavement.
Alternatives to Concrete Sidewalks
Sidewalks made of interlocking pavers installed above mud tend to be far more flexible than concrete and are less inclined to buckling from root growth. They typically call for a edge of concrete or other stiff material to hold them into position, but a buckled border is easier to replace than a whole concrete sidewalk. Bricks laid over mud also require borders and have the very same advantages and disadvantages as pavers. Asphalt sidewalks are thinner than concrete and easily shaped. They’re also less costly than concrete, and you’re able to colour them; if roots buckle a section, it’s not difficult to remove and replace. The disadvantage is that asphalt may heat and become soft in the sun and is not as attractive as tangible.