Trees add significant value to cities, neighborhoods, and homes. Research shows that trees can enhance the image and attractiveness of a property, which is why your approach to developing it should give priority to preservation of the existing trees. Cutting down trees should be done only as a last resort.

Tree roots, on the other hand, are a completely different story. Roots of certain trees can penetrate and compromise sewer systems and pipelines. They can lift driveways and walkways as well as even topple walls and entire structures.

Fortunately, there are many different ways to manage your roots without the need to cut down the whole tree. Here are the top 7 ways to deal with tree roots:

1. Mechanically Cutting the Tree Roots

Using a mechanical auger is one of the most common techniques used to deal with tree roots. It is a mechanical approach that involves sending a powered auger down a sewer line. It has a rotating head that’s covered in teeth and the rotating action cuts and clears roots.

2. Using Mulch

If you have exposed roots in your yard, you can try applying mulch – preferably wood chips – underneath your tree. Doing this helps level out the area while keeping the roots cool and moist and allowing them to breathe. However, avoid putting more than 4-inches of mulch.

3. Root Barriers

Root barriers are steel or plastic membranes used to physically present roots from growing beyond the barrier line. They are particularly effective, especially if installed proactively when the tree is still young and roots don’t require pruning.

4. Chemical Control

You can use certain chemicals to kill off roots that grow beyond their bounds. For instance, copper sulfate crystals can be highly effective for this. The copper creates a “poison” zone in the soil around the structure you want to protect from the evasive roots.

5. Air Gaps

You can also control root growth effectively by creating a “dry” zone between the tree that has invasive roots and the structure you wish to protect. The zone is excavated and filled using materials that dry fast, should have very large pores filled with water, are impermeable to root penetration, and have poor water holding capacity.

6. Baiting

Roots naturally grow towards areas with healthy and moist soils. Baiting refers to providing these ideal growth conditions in an area away from the structure you want to protect. The process is at times not completely practical, but it can become workable under special in-ground containerization.

7. Using a Hydro Jetter

Using a hydro jetter is an effective but possibly expensive way to clear tree roots from sewer lines. The machine uses pressurized water and a pump. Once the hydro jetter has finished doing its job, you can flush your sewer line with a chemical to get rid of roots that might still be present.

Final Thoughts

Trees add value to a property, but their roots can definitely be a nuisance. If you want to get rid of tree roots effectively without cutting down the tree, try any of the methods discussed here. If you don’t know how to deal with trees or their roots, call our certified Portland Tree Service experts