Beautiful Trees in Brisbane
Trees and their roots are all around us; whether you are living in the bush, suburbia or in the city, you will not fail to come across trees. Beautiful to look at, useful for providing us with clean air and of course in Australia, giving us all-important shade! Despite the many positive benefits of trees, unfortunately, they can also cause us issues with the main one being- invasive roots.
Roots are all around us
Roots are vitally important for trees, they gather essential water and nutrients while also providing them with strength and stability. However, for home owners and in commercial settings, roots can be a big problem as they can cause trip hazards, break underground utilities and pipes and can push pavements so they become uneven and dangerous.
Trees can have extensive underground root masses spreading far from the tree in the hunt for water and nutrients. These roots grow in all directions and can spread around or through any underground object. For example, if there is an underground pipe with a tiny crack in it, the tree root can grow through the crack causing more damage to the utility. Roots can also cause issues for houses and buildings, damaging foundations while causing cement and concrete to crack and crumble. Once this has occurred it is a very expensive and extensive repair job.
Feeder roots are closer to the surface so as the tree grows, so do the roots and eventually, they may be exposed above ground causing trip hazards and preventing simple activities like mowing the lawn.
Fig Tree Roots
In Brisbane, Australia, one of the most common trees and main culprits for invasive roots are certain types of Fig Tree (ficus). They have been known to spread up to 100 meters, crossing roads and growing through vents to enter buildings. They are extremely adept at getting through tiny cracks and holes especially when planted in optimum soil conditions. If not kept in check they can become a problem for councils,business, and homeowners.
Root Problem Solutions
What is the solution to problem roots?
If you plant or inherit a tree that is known for growing shallow, quick spreading roots then there are several actions you can take:
Confine them in a small space in a container or a pot first and bring them indoors. Once they are planted outside the roots will still expand but not so dramatically.
You can also plant them in pre-prepared plots with built in root restraints such as planting liners or underground brick walls. This will allow them to grow naturally but will keep them contained and slow the process down.
Regular pruning, particularly when young is an excellent way to contain root invasiveness and encourages the tree to focus its energy on fruit production and keeping branches strong.
Established trees with Invasive Roots
Root Barrier Installation
For established trees installing a Root Barriers can be the perfect solution, the tree will not be harmed but the roots will be effectively contained by fitting a barricade around the tree. For trees that are close to houses, retaining walls and underground utilities, this is the recommended resolution. Read this blog post to find out more about the process of installing a root barrier in the Brisbane area.
Using Vacuum Excavation to work around roots is becoming increasingly popular. The high-powered soft wand hose can wash around roots without damage to the root cambium (outer layer of skin). The roots can then be cut by a qualified Arborist in the correct places to install a barrier without damaging the main root system and therefore protecting the overall health of the tree.
Sometimes removing the tree is the only sensible option, especially if it is causing structural damage to neighbouring buildings. However, roots can continue to grow when the tree trunk is removed, therefore the stump must be ground by a stump grinder or freshly cut stumps should be treated with poison to kill the roots.