Tree Root Barrier Installation

As trees mature their root systems branch out beneath the soil. Most trees’ root systems encompass a diameter that is two to four times that of the crown. With that in mind, the need to install root barriers to protect infrastructures in urban areas is not uncommon.

What is a Root Barrier?

Root barriers are mechanical guides used to redirect and control the direction of tree root growth. The primary purpose of a root barrier is to protect foundations and structures, by diverting the tree roots down and away from hardscapes. There are three standard types of tree root barriers and factors such as soil moisture, placement, and the purpose of the barrier play a part in determining which barrier is going to be the most effective.

Solid Barriers or Root Deflectors

Solid root barriers are the most common root barrier. They are usually made from a molded plastic or metal and are used to create a solid wall that roots are unable to grow through. With proper installation this root barrier is very effective in deflecting roots safely away from foundations.

Permeable Barriers

A permeable root barrier is made of screens or a mesh allowing the exchange of water and some smaller roots to pass through but, diverting large harmful roots away.

Chemical Barriers

A chemical root barrier is a barrier that is covered in a chemical compound that inhibits tree root growth.

Tree Roots breaking through an asphalt road

Root Barriers for Existing Trees

Although it is preferable to install a tree root barrier when a new tree is planted, root barriers can be installed for existing mature trees. The need to install a root barrier for a mature tree is generally the result of the existing trees root system wreaking havoc on existing hardscapes such as sidewalks, roads, foundation, driveways, and pools. The process of installing a root barrier for an existing tree is a more involved as it requires air trenching with an air spade, to excavate the tree’s root system. Once the tree roots have been excavated your Tree Medics’ arborist will need to prune the tree roots before installing the tree root barrier.

Proper installation of root barriers is imperative to preserving the health and beauty of the tree as well as ensure the effectiveness of the root barrier. A root barrier failure, due to improper installation, could result in costly root damage and a serious decline in the tree’s health.

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