Are root barriers effective in preventing sidewalk damage? Thank you for your response.
Multnomah County Oregon
Thank you for your question to Ask an Expert-
Root barriers are marginally effective at controlling the spread of roots in the long-term. For an established tree, installation will be difficult and you would likely need to cut major roots, which would undermine the health of the tree. If you are considering planting a new tree, you should reference the street tree list for the city where you live. Here is the list with other information from the City of Portland: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/49305. The trees on this list are chosen in part becuae they do not heave sidewalks.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.