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Tree Roots: A Threat To Asphalt Pavement

Tree roots protruding from concrete sidewalks and asphalt pavement are a common sight. Over time, the roots can grow large enough to crack and damage the concrete or asphalt surface, leading to costly repairs. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how tree roots can damage concrete and asphalt, and we’ll offer some tips on how to prevent this from happening.

How do tree roots damage asphalt pavement?

Tree roots damage asphalt pavement when the roots do not have enough room to grow underground. The tree obtains its nutrition from the earth, and its roots gather oxygen from uncompacted soil beneath sidewalks and roadways. When the ground beneath a tree becomes compacted to give structural support for the overlying pavement, the tree’s roots start colonizing beneath the concrete surface quickly, causing the surface to rise, break, and cause aesthetic and safety hazards.

Pavement damage is a problem for cities because, in addition to being visually unpleasing, it offers a significant liability risk owing to the tripping hazard it creates.

A Few Tips to Repair Root Damage to Asphalt Pavement:

If you’re starting to see cracks and other indicators of deterioration on your pavement near trees, here are some of our helpful recommendations and fixes:

Clip or remove the roots:

If you notice areas where the asphalt has been pushed up, tree roots are likely trying to wriggle their way out of the gaps. If this is the case, we recommend utilizing a gas-powered asphalt and concrete saw to cut away the damaged area of the pavement.

After cutting away the damaged areas, carefully clip or remove the roots to safeguard the tree’s root system during construction. Use plastic or biodegradable root barriers to contain them. This procedure must be carried out by a professional such as Action Asphalt.

Consider a tree risk assessment and alternate procedures before cutting the roots.

Use of a creative drainage system.

Asphalt pavement is installed on a slight inclination to prevent water from collecting on top of it. Tree roots have a natural desire to go where the water is. If you’re putting down a blacktop near trees, make the inclination run in the direction of the trees so the roots can reach the most water. If the inclination goes down the opposite direction as the trees, tree roots will travel under your pavement to reach the moist soil. Use a drainage system that will ideally prevent tree roots from crossing the pavement.

Build proper defenses:

After you’ve dealt with the root causing your pavement problems, it’s time to build up some defenses. Place a root barrier between the pavement and the tree. These barriers can be physical, such as sheet metal or other material that inhibits the root from entering. You can also use softer materials saturated in copper sulfate to form a chemical barrier. Root barriers don’t always function because persistent roots will eventually find a way through.

Develop a strategy:

Have a strategy for everything in life, even pavement. If you’ve dealt with root damage previously, expect it to happen again on your pavement. There is no replacement for routine inspection and maintenance. It’s even more important to participate in preventative maintenance if you think tree roots are causing your pavement problems.

Fortunately, Action Asphalt is here to assist you with paving requirements for asphalt driveways, sidewalks, or parking lots in Sacramento, CA. Contact us now, and we will see what we can do to prevent asphalt damage.