Oak trees and pavement removal

Asked May 10, 2017, 2:24 PM EDT

Attached is a photo of a parking spot that was paved next to an Oregon Oak. This was done 9 years ago. The tree is showing signs of stress: not fully leafing out, lots of dead branches. The parking spot covers almost 1/2 of the trees critical root zone. Would removing the pavement help the tree, or is it too late?

Hood River County Oregon

1 Response

As you suspect, paving so much of the tree's rooting zone is likely a primary cause for tree decline - but other agents such as disease or insects could be taking advantage of the stressed tree. A definitive diagnosis requires a specific tree health assessment. So, it is difficult to predict tree recovery if you remove the pavement, but it might be worth a try, depending on results of a more specific diagnosis of tree health. For this you could try a consulting arborist http://www.isa-arbor.com/findanarborist/findanarborist.aspx

For this tree (or the next large-stature tree you plant in that location) to have a chance, you would need to restore the soil in the rooting zone. It may come down to the tradeoff between your desire for a large tree vs. extra room for vehicles in that location. A compromise could include permeable pavement over top of the restored soil. There is much promise for permeable parking surfaces designed to improve water percolation, water quality, and tree root function. But I am not an expert on that.