Industry News: Root and Soil Concerns

Q: What kind of driveway can be installed to protect our tree's roots?

Thursday, April 21, 2016  

Q: We want to replace our concrete driveway which is very close to our 50-foot oak tree. What kind of driveway should we install to protect the roots?

A: Almost any type of driveway can be built close to a tree if it is done carefully. The key is to avoid digging through the tree's roots, which are probably in the top few inches of soil. An existing concrete driveway may have discouraged root growth in that area; if so, digging may be okay. But you first need to determine whether there are roots under the concrete. If the concrete is removed carefully, so as not to injure roots that might be present, then you can assess whether you need to avoid digging or not. If there are roots, a driveway can be built to bridge over the roots. What is called porous pavers can be used as the surface of the driveway. Some roots can be cut off without causing irreparable harm. You really need an experienced to help you do that. You can locate a qualified arborist to discuss this with by using ASCA's Find a Consulting Arborist. There are a number of ASCA members near you, and several Registered Consulting Arborists within 50 miles of your zip code. Good luck with your oak!

Responder: Ed Milhous, RCA #350, Haymarket, VA