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Roots lifting sidewalks and curbs

roots lifting sidewalk

First check to see if tree roots are causing the problem. Recent studies in the mid-west show that sidewalks are just as likely to crack whether trees are present or not. Cracks were found to invite roots; although roots can lift sidewalks and cause cracks roots did not necessarily cause cracks.

Some professionals observe that sidewalks with roots underneath do not crack until driven on by a vehicle. Many sidewalks are not designed to hold a vehicle whether tree roots are present or not.

Roots are often cut as part of the sidewalk repair process near a tree so the concrete can be repoured in its original position. However, it is best to leave roots intact close to the trunk because these roots are largely responsible for holding up the tree. Cutting these roots has resulted in toppled trees and severe damage to people and property. See: root pruning guidelines.

Here are some sidewalk solutions: See: other solutions.

  • Construct a ramp over roots made from wood or concrete. The bottom undersurface of the ramp should not be in contact with the offending roots
  • Spread a 3-6 in. layer of soft rubber chips over the roots and repour concrete on top of the chips
  • Spread a layer of one-inch diameter washed gravel over roots and repour concrete