How Do You Install Tree Root Control Barriers? Is it Hard to Install Root Barrier Products?

When you have put time, energy, and money into designing a hardscape installation, the last thing you want to see is your hard work destroyed. Especially, if the damage comes from a threat that could have very likely been prevented.

Trees are often a very desirable part of your hardscape plan. Trees provide shade for other plants, people, and sometimes, structures. Of course, they look nice too!

However, along with the many benefits that trees bring to your overall landscape and hardscape design, they bring a big threat too.

Over time, if the roots of trees are allowed to grow unmanaged or unchecked, they can overgrow to the point where they damage elements of the hardscape such as sidewalks, irrigation, and lighting. They can even uproot things like benches and fountains that might be integrated into the design as well.

The sad thing is that very often, as mentioned above, this damage from tree root overgrowth could most likely have been prevented with proper planning, foresight, and care.

Installing tree root control barriers when creating a hardscape is relatively easy if you plan ahead—do your homework on the best root barrier products and get root barriers installed before other elements are put in place.

Some of the questions we frequently get here at Sidewalk Shield is how to install tree root barriers and, “Is installing tree root barriers hard?”

How to Install Tree Root Control Barriers

Installing Sidewalk Shield is relatively simple and painless.

As with nearly all tree root barrier products, you want to install the root barrier before you plant your trees. The only real exception Is that you can install a root control barrier after trees are planted if the tree(s) is/are still relatively young and the barrier can be installed without damaging the roots of the tree(s) themselves. (***It is possible to use Sidewalk Shield on older plantings if it can be installed without cutting major roots.)

To perform Sidewalk Shield root control barrier install:
  1. Establish a tree pit. The tree pit can be directly below the tree or include a surrounding area.  Surround pits are installed directly around the tree and enclose a single tree. Linear or continuous pits are longer pits design to contain multiple trees and a larger green space. (NOTE: Ensure your tree pit is large enough. You want to be sure you are controlling tree root growth, but also allowing enough space for the tree roots to grow in a healthy manner. For certain, you want your tree pit to be large enough to cover the tree’s “umbrella” at maturity.)
  • Excavate entire area for a surround pit or perimeter for a continuous pit. Confirm subgrade is at the proper depth to allow the barrier to come to the top of the curb but to exceed curb or sidewalk height.

  • Line the outside of the desired planting area for the tree with Sidewalk Shield. Angle the shield at a 10-degree position where the top of the barrier is closer to the tree and the bottom is further away.
  • Replace soil in succeeding 6” layers compacting as you proceed.

While installing Sidewalk Shield should be fairly easy for most people, there are two very important considerations. Learn more about cautions when installing any root control barrier product HERE.

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