Trees are important landscape elements that provide myriad benefits to not only the homeowner, but also the entire neighborhood. In addition to raising property values, trees help moderate the climate, absorb excess runoff water and improve the mental health of those living in their company.
Unfortunately, trees are often planted too closely to concrete driveways and sidewalks. As the tree grows, the roots spread out into the surrounding soil; if the roots pass under hardscapes, they can actually lift the concrete several inches above grade.
This not only creates tripping hazards, it compromises the aesthetic charm of your property. Fortunately, several techniques have been devised to mitigate these problems, including the five listed below.
1. Modify the hardscape.
The simplest solution is often to modify the layout of the affected sidewalk or driveway. Usually this is accomplished by adding curves to the hardscape so that it takes a meandering path near the trees. Be sure to arrange the new hardscape so that it provides the tree's root system plenty of space to avoid similar problems in the future.
2. Install thicker concrete.
While the growth of tree roots seems nearly unstoppable, it is possible to slow their spread by adding weight to the hardscape in question. For example, you can add more concrete to the top of an existing hardscape, which will make it too heavy for the roots to lift.
3. Add concrete below the affected slab.
As slabs shift in response to encroaching roots, they often become tilted with respect to the ground. In such cases, it is often possible to add concrete beneath the lifted slab with special high-pressure concrete pouring equipment – a technique called "slabjacking." As the concrete accumulates beneath one side of the slab, it restores the slab to a level position.
4. Shave the concrete to restore a level surface.
Grinding down the raised portion of the sidewalk is often a viable strategy for restoring a level surface. This strategy works best when the tree roots have not caused the concrete to rise more than 1 or 2 inches, and the tree is already mature (and therefore unlikely to add a significant amount of new growth, which would cause further lifting).
5. Prune the tree roots.
If you notice the problem early enough, you may be able to prune the tree roots to prevent them from causing problems in the first place. Root pruning can compromise the health of a tree, so it is best to prune only as many roots as necessary. Avoid cutting any roots that are within 24-inches of the trunk, as these are important for the tree's stability.
For more help evening out your sidewalk, seek out services like concrete leveling services by Projack Canada Corp.