The Q&A Archives: Tree Roots Buckle Sidewalk

Question: I have two oak trees in my front yard that are causing the sidewalk to buckle, as well as making it very difficult to grow a decent lawn. Someone suggested that I replace them with more "root friendly" trees and that this would resolve the situation. Is this true?

Answer: Oaks aren't usually considered shallow-rooted trees -- where conditions allow, they send their roots deep. There may be an underlying factor that's causing them to favor the soil surface, such as a shallow bedrock layer under the soil, high water table, soil compaction, and the like. If this is the case, any tree that you plant will grow shallow roots. I suggest that you have a landscaper or arborist take a look at your site and assess what kind of tree is likely to be compatible with the conditions in your yard before spending a lot of money and energy in tree removal and replacment -- it'll be worth the front-end investment!

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