When planning a hardscape, it’s important to consider the future and how and where tree roots will grow. If allowed to just grow naturally, without deterrent or guidance, tree roots can end up destroying that carefully planned landscape before you even realize what is happening.
Don’t want to see all your visions and hard work go to waste? Want to preserve your hardscape over time? Consider a root block!
What is a root block?
A root block is a product that is put in place when the hardscape is installed that manages and directs tree root growth.
Trees aren’t “alive” in the human-sense—in that they don’t intentionally seek to destroy what you’ve designed for your hardscape—such as sidewalks and infrastructure. However, they are “alive” in the truest sense. Meaning, because they are alive, they do mature and grow. And that growth, unchecked, can be somewhat difficult to predict.
Therefore, putting serious thought into how to guide that root growth is critical if you want to ensure that sidewalk and other in-ground hardscape (AND landscape) components stay intact, where you intended, and aren’t eventually compromised by that tree root growth.
This is where a root block comes into play.
How does a root block work?
To be most effective, a root block should be installed at the hardscape installation phase in the beginning.
Some root blocks can be instituted when trees have already started growing, if it can be put into the ground under and around the root system without disturbing the root system. This can be challenging though, thus, the most recommended option is to have the root block fitted into your hardscape before trees are planted.
Generally speaking, you want to install a root block — also called a tree root barrier — deep and wide enough so that it will prevent the tree’s future root growth from impacting hardscape elements like walks, drives, irrigation, or lighting. However, it should still have enough room to mature and thrive over time. This is another major reason that your tree pits should be well-considered in the design or architecture of the overall design.
If you want flexibility and a modern flow to your design, it can sometimes be hard to find root block options that still allow your design to “move” in desired ways—such as with curves or circles built into the plan. The good news is that there are modern root barrier product options that not only allow—but are specifically designed—to allow just that!
Tree root control in modern designs that incorporate such curves and circles is possible with Sidewalk Shield. Sidewalk Shield is a flexible, 100% recycled HDPE root block product that is 100% moldable into circular designs, while also effectively directing tree roots down and away from hardscape elements for the life of your installation.
A physical root barrier system, Sidewalk Shield — as outlined above —is best installed before trees are planted OR put into the hardscape when trees are very young.
Learn more about Sidewalk Shield HERE.