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Pavers and Pin Oaks

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by heygrassman, Aug 18, 2002.

  1. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 509

    I have a customer that is wanting me to put a paver (or brick)path way within 5 feet of the base of a 40ft pin oak. I am trying to impress upon them the root structure and potential distruction to our newly created pathway. I would be removing as much root material as I can to get my 4-5 in sub-base inch base installed but I have concerns that the roots will continue to spread and start to upheave the paver path.

    Am I over reacting??

    Thanks in advance.

  2. BigJim

    BigJim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    Thats easy the tree will win this one,especially over time.
  3. Mykster

    Mykster LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 668

    Is there any room to re-route the pathway?
  4. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 509

    I thought that was an easy one too but a friend of the customer insists that it will be fine..

    There is only 15feet between the tree and the porch that we are looking to build around. We all would like a 6-8 foot bed in there as well..

    Thanks guys.. wanted to make sure I was not outta my mind...

  5. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,226

    good luck, you have a 40' pin oak, that means the root structure extends out i believe on oaks 3 times the height. so that means the roots go out in a 360(circle) 120' or at 2times thats 80'. you are not going to win this one, i could go on but i wouldn't do that job.
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Observation: Oaks are not as bad as many other trees for roots impacting the surface. I'm not saying it won't, but a maple or locust would be much worse.
    Look at lawns with oaks in them. The turf is usually nice right up to the trunk. It is not robbed of water from surface roots and the roots are seldom exposed on the surface.
    I'd do it and write in a note on the contract that explicitely states that you are not responsible for shifting within so many feet of the tree.
  7. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    The main concern would be the type of gravel you use. Oaks don't like lime, esp. pin oaks. I would look for gravel that wouldn't affect the tree.
  8. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    You can dig it... but the tree may be effected since the majority of the tree roots are in the top 12" to 18" of the soil. Essentially you're trenching down 6" to 8" and the roots on the far side of the trench will be cut off from the tree - unless they're below your excavation.

    We just put in a patio near a Silver Maple. Sometimes we'll dig the base with a skid loader or even a mini skid - had to use the mini excavator on this one since there was literally a layer or matt of roots 2" to 4" thick across the lawn area and we had to cut through it and pull it up. Though Pin Oaks do have shallow root systems like the Silver Maple, they don't tend to ride the surface as much. The patio might heave over time - as previously mentioned, I'd write it into the contract that you're not responsible for damage to the patio done by the tree.

    Paul... what are your thoughts on materials that will build a suitable base but does not contain limestone?
  9. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    In this case I would use decomposed granite, it's a netural gravel, compacts well and available in the right size (3/4"-) with enough fines.
  10. coolyard

    coolyard LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 6

    I've made quite a few brick walkways and the most important thing that I've learned is that there is almost always a way. Dig as deep as you can untill you come to one of the trees main roots. Don't cut through it because if you do you could possibly end up harming the tree. Instead put down your base like you would ordinarilly and just build your walkway right over the top of the roots. If you slope it gently on each side it will look fine. The pavers will likely lift but it will be many years before it happens. It can be repaired by removing the affected pavers, removing some of the base, and then replacing.

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