impacts of walkway construction near a tree

Asked March 17, 2016, 9:59 AM EDT

We have a 60 year old sweet gum tree 8 feet from a walkway that needs to be relaid. I attach photos. Its canopy has a radius of about 12 feet. We prefer to use concrete, but are concerned about the tree roots. What are possible consequences to the tree if we cut roots in the line of the walkway? Consequences to the sidewalk from root intrusion? My research shows sweetgum are deep rooted trees, but what exactly does that mean in this case? We are also considering laying flagstone.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

If you have to cut roots to lay a new sidewalk, it will adversely affect the tree. To what degree it is impossible to say. We cannot say how long it will take for the damage to show up. More damaged roots, more damage to tree. Tree roots can lift sidewalks. Again, to what degree it is impossible to say. The roots of all trees are in the top foot to foot and a half of soil. Laying flagstone on the top of the soil will not damage roots. but the surface will be uneven. If you have to push a wheelchair in and out, a sidewalk will be better. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. vw