I have a large, mature silver maple that's planted about 2 feet away
from my driveway. I am currently getting estimates for getting my
driveway (40 years old) re-paved. In the scope of work, the
contractors say that they will excavate 12" of the old driveway, put in
a 10" gravel bed, and 2" of asphalt. I am concerned as to how much
root damage my silver maple can sustain.
Below is a very crude "overhead" picture of the current driveway and
tree. The trunk of the tree is represented by the letter "O". As you
can imagine, any roots of the tree 12" deep from roughly 1 o'clock to 5
o'clock will get severed. Is that too much damage? It is a large
silver maple. The diameter of the tree's trunk is probably at least 3
feet, and its crown could easily be 45 feet wide.
On 29 May 2006 06:45:47 -0700, jonny firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
That's pretty severe damage. The percentage of root loss is harsh,
but not necessarily unforgiveable. But severing roots that close to
such a large tree will mean losing most of its anchoring abilities on
that side--i.e., don't put any picnic tables on the side away from the
A tree's roots exist primarily in the top 12" to 24" of soil.
Depending on your soil and the site history, you could be losing
virtually all of the roots on this side of the tree. There are
alternative contruction methods that would either replace the concrete
slab with porous paving materials or elevate the drive above the root
zone (or perhaps you could reroute the drive a bit to give this tree
some breathing room--even a few extra feet would be better than
If you decide to continue the project as it's planned and still keep
the tree, be acutely aware of protecting what you can. If the work
crew gets careless while replacing the drive, branches could be broken
or the remaining soil could be compacted, thus leading to even more
root loss. Write penalties into your contract for any damage to
branches or bark on the aboveground part of the tree.
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/avoiding_construction.aspx is a
good source to learn how to protect your tree during construction (and
includes a link to other tree info, including remediation of the
damage that does occur). Along with the info it contains, I would
emphasize the value of mulching the root zone heavily where possible
to help avoid compaction where the driveway isn't.
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