Can arborvitae roots damage paved surface

Asked August 13, 2019, 3:33 PM EDT

My neighbor worships his granite "splash gutter" along his foundation. It's essentially a granite countertop alongside his stone foundation. His house itself looms over our play area and I would like some privacy, but he stated he doesn't want any bushes near his foundation. There is about 10 feet of space between our driveway and his foundation. The land I propose to plant on belongs to us.

I would like to plant Emerald Green Arborvitae along our driveway (approx. 8 feet from his precious foundation.) Will this buck up his granite?

Berrien County Michigan

1 Response

Of course roots can go out much further than 8 feet from older trees but as they go out from the tree they get gradually smaller. Some trees are more prone to problems near foundations such as silver maples and willows, these are fast growing trees with aggressive root systems that should not be planted near a foundation. Arborvitae are not quick growing trees and are often planted as foundation plants. Keep in mind they do get at least 4 feet wide so keep it back this distance from the neighbors yard or you may have them trimming branches that cross into their yard. I have not found any information on damage to sidewalks or other hardscapes due to arborvitae. Also you could grow a type of arborvitae that does not get as tall with a smaller root system. See the following article on types of arborvitae and their size. Be careful not to plant large ones too close together which can cause troubles as they compete with each other as they get older.