If a tree root erupts through your sidewalk, cracking it and making it uneven or unstable, then you have a problem. The sidewalk is now considered dangerous, and some people may not be able to use it easily. If you have trees on your property that are near the sidewalk, then it may already be too late, as the best way to protect your sidewalk from erupting roots is to prevent it from happening altogether. While you can always cut away roots and lay down new sidewalk if tree roots have ruined the old one, the tree roots may regrow and cause the exact same problem. Here is what you can do to avoid this problem in the first place.

Get Away From the Sidewalk

The best way to keep trees from breaking through the sidewalk is to plant them far away from the sidewalk. The farther away from the street, the less likely you are to have roots that spring through the sidewalk. The ideal degree of clearance between the walkway and your tree should be 15 feet on every side. While this is not always achievable, there are some other things you can do to try to stop tree roots from damaging the pathway in front of your home.

Be Careful in your Tree Selection

Different trees have more prominent root patterns than others. Some of the biggest offenders on this list are the American Elm, the Silver Maple, and Willow trees. All of these trees have invasive root structures that can damage your sidewalk, your foundation, and pipes and wires buried underground. Unless you have fallen in love with one of these trees or you have a yard large enough to support them then go with something else! Some of the best trees to plant are apple, plum, hawthorn, rowan, pear, and birch. It is a great idea to talk to an arborist, like the ones at Arbor Care Tree Services, about what trees will work best for your area.


One of the reasons why root patterns can become so invasive or sprawling is because of lack of water. While you may think that roots will grow more because they get enough water, that is not true. The reason that roots grow upward and stretch out is so that they can get lots of water that is easily accessible at the earth’s surface. To keep this from happening you need to water often and thoroughly. Set up a hose at the base of your tree and turn on only a small stream. Leave this going for around half an hour. This will give the water the opportunity to soak deep into the ground in a concentrated area around your tree, encouraging roots to grow deeper, to get the water you are feeding it, instead of outward.

If you are looking to plant a new tree on your property and are worried about it breaking through the sidewalk, or have a tree that is causing problems with roots breaking through the sidewalk and needs to come down, contact us at Arbor Care Tree Services. We perform various tree services in Mississauga including tree trimming and tree removal and can help you get your yard looking great.