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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.
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