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Can You Pour Concrete Over Tree Roots?

If you're planning on doing renovations to your backyard or porch, there's probably a tree or two needs your attention. The thought of pouring concrete over its roots may have crossed your mind, but you better think twice before doing so. Luckily, we did our research to tell you whether or not you could pour concrete over tree roots.

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While you can pour concrete over tree roots to hide them from view, you're depriving the tree of its essential survival needs. As such, many environmentalists are against this practice.

So, it's best to find an alternative solution to whatever project you're handling to keep the tree healthy and strong.

This article will tell you just how close you can pour concrete around a tree without harming it. Additionally, we will also discuss whether tree roots can damage concrete and what other solutions are out there besides using concrete. Continue reading to find out more.

Sidewalk Trouble poor old tree roots, cracked concrete, Can You Pour Concrete Over Tree Roots?

Is It Alright To Pour Concrete Over Tree Roots?

As mentioned earlier, pouring concrete over tree roots is a bad practice that needs to stop. Trees provide oxygen and help reduce carbon emissions in the air, making it safer for us to breathe in.

By pouring concrete over the tree roots, not only are we slowly killing the tree, but we are robbing ourselves of the benefits that it gives us.

So if you plan on redecorating your home and there's a tree in the way with its roots sticking out for the whole world to see, think twice before pouring concrete all over them.

If possible, go around it or rethink the project altogether. That way, you allow the tree to live and do its job for the benefit of everyone in your home.

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How Close To A Tree Can One Pour Concrete?

City tree grows round concrete around the tree

If you wish to continue the project and have no intention of removing the tree you have at home, then you should understand how close you can pour concrete all around it.

By doing this, you save both the tree and time on doing future repairs.

Determine The Potential Size Of A Tree

As you already know, trees come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on their species, they can grow in a variety of different ways.

Understanding what kind of tree you're dealing with is crucial. This allows you to estimate how big it could grow in the future and plan your project accordingly.

Explore The Tree Root's Network

Next, you need to figure out the expanse of the tree's root system. This will let you know just how wide the tree could become.

It also gives you an idea of how far and deep the roots can travel underneath the surface. And knowing that, you can give the tree the appropriate amount of space to continue receiving water and nutrients.

Figure Out The Necessary Radius

Now that you know what kind of tree you're dealing with and its potential size, it's time to learn how much space it requires. To do this, you must look up the tree's potential width.

After you get the rough measurements, always consider the larger number. From there, you divide it in half, and you get yourself the radius of the tree.

This radius will tell you the amount of space a tree needs for it to survive. Take that number, measure it from the tree's potential width, and go around in a circle. Make sure to mark it down on the ground as you do this.

Estimate How Close The Tree Roots Are To The Surface

Another thing you need to consider is just how close the tree's roots are to the surface. Some trees have roots that are visible above the ground. And these roots are vulnerable to any external damage.

It could result in that part of the root withering away. And when that happens, the tree could become unstable, causing it to lean and eventually fall if too many of its roots die off.

Can Tree Roots Damage Concrete?

Yes, tree roots can do damage to concrete. However, it's not what you might think it to be.

Contrary to popular belief, tree roots are not the main reason why cracks appear on a sidewalk. Although they contribute to the damage, they're not solely responsible.

Instead, it's due to constant wear and tear that causes concrete to accumulate damage over time. This includes holding up the weight of vehicles zooming above it, people walking on top of it, and the constant change in weather that it has to endure.

Concrete is not invincible and has a limit to how much it can handle. Once its structural integrity weakens, cracks and porous spots will start to appear. From there, water and sunlight can get into them.

When that happens, tree roots will gravitate closer to the concrete to get these nutrients. As a result, the cracks will slowly widen over time.

Growing Pains on the park cracked concrete

How To Stop Tree Roots From Damaging Concrete?

There are a few ways to stop tree roots from damaging the concrete. However, don't attempt to do this on your own, as you will need the help of a professional. This is to prevent any unwanted accidents and any harm done to the tree.

One of the few ways to you have to prevent tree roots from damaging concrete is by installing a root barrier. Chances are, you've been to a big city with trees growing by the sidewalk. It is through the use of root barriers that this becomes possible.

Root barriers are responsible for deflecting and diverting the path of the tree's roots. It allows you to control which direction they grow. As such, you don't have to worry about these roots causing damage not only to concrete but to nearby foundations and plumbing as well.

Another method is cutting away at the tree's roots. By trimming away the problematic roots, you're better able to control the direction in which they grow.

Hire a tree-trimming expert to do this task. If someone without experience tries to cut away at the tree's roots, it could lead to the tree's death.

After trimming, make sure to install a root barrier to allow the roots to heal and redirect their growth to somewhere more manageable.

Lastly, properly maintain the concrete. No matter how durable concrete can be, it doesn't last forever. So, taking steps to repair it once it starts to weaken will significantly help prevent roots from wreaking further damage.

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What Options Are Available Besides Using Concrete?

Tree Roots Causing Pavement Damage poor tree

There are plenty of other options for you to buy on the market besides concrete. And unlike concrete, they allow you to decorate the backyard or patio of your home without harming any trees.

One option is to use pavers. You can simply assemble these around your tree without worrying about water and nutrients not getting to its roots.

Unlike cement, pavers move and shift in tandem with the ground underneath. So, unlike concrete, you don't have to worry about the tree's roots cracking them. And if the tree needs any extra attention, you can simply remove these without much effort.

Other options include using bricks and decorative stones. They provide the same function, albeit with a bit more work and less structural integrity.

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Who To Call When Planning A Project That Revolves Around Trees?

If you're planning a project that involves using concrete to beautify your home but doesn't have an idea of who to turn to for advice when it comes to the trees in your backyard, you can give a call to your local arborist.

They are the equivalent of doctors when it comes to trees and can tell you just about anything about the tree you have at home.

And just like that, you have someone to provide you with the tree's age, growth limit, root expansion, and more, so you'll have an idea of what you need to do moving forward.

To Wrap Up

Sidewalk Trouble poor old tree roots, cracked concrete

In short, while you can pour concrete over a tree's roots, avoid doing so. That way, you keep the tree healthy and alive, allowing it to produce clean air for everyone to breathe.

If you want to continue the project that you have in mind, consider asking for advice from an arborist before moving forward.

Did you find out what you were looking for in this article? If so, why not check the other links provided below? 

They will tell you everything else you need to know when it comes to pouring concrete over other things besides tree roots:

Can You Pour Concrete Over Bamboo? [Or Will It Break Through?]

Can You Pour Concrete Over A Utility Easement?