Trees don't appreciate confinement by man-made limits, such as buildings or pipes, and they sometimes fight back as they grow, causing damage to properties and driveways.
Here's some advice on how to keep your trees' roots under control without killing your trees.
Cut roots with care
Although it may be tempting to simply cut through intrusive roots and pull them out, this can very very harmful to the tree. The wounds created by grinding or cutting the roots provide the perfect entry point for diseases and pests, in addition to stressing the tree. Damaged roots also make it harder for the tree to take up water and nutrients, leaving it weak and stunting its growth.
Randomly cutting large roots can also serve to destabilise the tree, making it more likely to be blown down during a storm.
Correct cutting of problem tree roots
Remember that the further away from the tree's trunk that you cut, the less likely you are to damage the tree's overall health and create a hazard. When removing roots, aim to keep the cutting area outside of the canopy spread.
If possible, avoid cutting roots that are greater than 5cm in diameter. Cut the roots back to a side root or one that is growing downward.
To enable quicker recovery, use a clean, sharp saw to sever the roots and always water the roots thoroughly after pruning.
Once the problem roots have been cut, ask your local tree services contractor to install root guides or barriers to redirect the tree roots out of harm's way.
Plant new trees sensibly
When planting new trees, be sure to understand the size that the tree will attain at maturity. This will give you an idea of the potential root spread, enabling you to site the tree well away from any structures that could be damaged by the roots as the tree grows.
You can find out more about the species of trees you could plant in your garden from your local wholesale nursery or by asking your usual tree services contractor for advice.
Although it is possible to remove troublesome tree roots yourself, you must do so carefully to avoid damaging the tree or creating a possible hazard. If you're not confident to tackle the job yourself, the best plan of action is to ask your local tree services company to carry out any remedial work necessary.
In addition, a good arborist will be able to assess your existing trees and take action before a problem arises.