strange root behavior

I had a spot on my asphalt driveway that was obviously being pushed up by a root (there was a seam between two sections where water could get in so that wasn't surprising). The last couple of days I tackled it, chopping up the asphalt and digging around the root.
I expected to find the usual shape for roots, getting bigger as it got closer to the tree. Instead I found something very strange. There was a big lumpy bundle of twisted roots, up to 4 inches in diameter in places. But they didn't go anywhere. They just wrapped around themselves and disappeared into the soil in various directions. The really strange thing was that all the branches were quite small - no more than one inch.
It's almost as if the bundle wasn't attached to a tree at all, but I assume that one of those little side shoots must lead to a tree. There's a mature ponderosa pine about 12 feet away so I assume that must be it.
I didn't know that roots could take such a bizarre shape, and also I'm wondering how to prevent this thing happening again. I presume some small deep root must have come to the surface some years ago and started that whole process. I don't want to dig up more of my driveway than necessary to get every tiny little root. I'm wondering if simply digging a deeper hole and filling it with gravel before repaving would prevent root growth by drying the zone out. (There's gravely soil there now).
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Roots can do some strange things, as I have observed from many tree and shrub autopsies in the past. As for the gravel- Roots will actually grow quite easily through gravel due to the larger pore spaces, which allow for more oxygen. We use gravel for healing in trees at the nursery, and the roots grow through the gravel just fine.
Toad
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There is a massive Norway Maple which straddles the property line between the neighbor's house and my property. There is a communal driveway on a steep slope, with a tall solid concrete retaining wall making a boundary between the steep aspahalt-paved driveway to the east and my lower, level driveway to the west. Halfway up that steep driveway the base of the norway maple has been completely asphalted around as part of the upper driveway, (I'm guessing at least 15-20 years ago), but it survives and thrives. At the base off my side of the retaining wall, the soil is dense with maple surface roots. So, apparently the roots have traveled straight down 8 feet from the trunk of a tree, tunneled under whatever the foundation of the concrete wall consists of, and then gone sideways for a considerable distance. Even a person like myself, who has no great love of Norway maples, has to have respect for the tenacity of a creature like that.....

shrub
grow
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Marley1372) wrote in message

How does the gravel heal a sick tree? Or were you just heeling them? Let's here if four homophones!
I would bet the term came from the same term used to describe the lean a sailing vessal gets from the wind.
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Apparently you have lived in a cave for most of your adult life... healing in is a process of burying the rootballs of trees that have been balled and burlapped, so the roots are protected from the elements. There are a number of materials that can be used for this, mulch, dirt, sand, peatmoss, sawdust, gravel, and so on. I was refering to the fact that roots grow through the gravel quite easily due to the amount of oxygen in the pore spaces that the gravel forms naturally.
Toad
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Marley1372) wrote in message

Try re-reading my message you humor impaired troglodyte.
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I dug down and things got even weirder. Every small branch just died out. As far as I can find there is NO connection to any tree. Can a root become a giant tumour?
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Plants normally get carbon and energy from leaves. Were there any at all sticking up?
I'd seal the pavement to prevent any further growth.
-- spud_demon -at- thundermaker.net The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.
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