Forum home Problem solving

Troublesome Tree Roots

Hallo everyone, this is my first post, so a brief introduction may be in order. I am retired, living in our current house in Dorset for five years, with a mature 1/3 acre garden. Originally there were about 15 mature trees on the plot, but prior to our arrival, many of them were removed, in spite of a TPO on the whole area. Most of them were conifers, but I have also identified beech and oak stumps, and the neighbour had to fell a lovely eucalyptus. Last year we lost three large Pinus Radiata which had become dangerous.

That leaves one magnificent 60’ Macrocarpa, a few scruffy oaks and a Scots Pine. As they are almost the last mature trees left, I want to protect the best oak and the Macrocarpa, but they are both very close to a driveway, which is part tarmac and part paved. The roots are showing extensively through the tarmac and several of the paviours have lifted. I am wondering how to reinstate the drive with the least damage to the trees. As I see it, I have these options:

  • Expose the surface roots, remove them and reinstate the tarmac and paving. How damaging would this be? 
  • Lift the disturbed paviours and carefully trim the roots. Swollen pressure pads have formed, I don’t know if I could just trim the thickened parts, or sever those roots completely. I could try to remove some of the sand under the paviours, and anchor the roots down with metal staples, before reinstatement. I could possibly reinstate at a slightly higher level (ie infill with more sand before re-paving). 
  • Accept that the trees are doomed and fell either or both before they become dangerous. 

I accept that there will not be a permanent solution, but anything to prolong the lives of these two trees will be helpful. I welcome any suggestions from all you experts out there; I can send photos if that helps. In any event, may I wish all Forum participants a Happy New Year and I look forward to your comments in due course. Thank you!


  • ozwigozwig Posts: 22

    Hello Woodlark

     Personally if the problem was mine i would have no hesitation in cutting as much root as possible and removing it completely. The tree is dormant right now and i would doubt very much if it would even miss the pieces removed, and that is just the root root, or roots causing the problem. There will be lots of other roots going off in different directions so its not as if its the only root there. Give it a go before felling the trees, nothing to be lost.

     Happy new year !

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Woodlark, as above, lift the paves and cut back hard on the relevant roots then relay the drive. I did that when roots of a tree threatened to undermine a wall and the tree actually livened up afterwards. As with all things in gardening try it out if it does not work then cull the trees and replace them elsewhere.


Sign In or Register to comment.