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Tree roots can cause big problems. Invasive roots can damage pathways, driveways and retaining walls, block drains and pipes, cause trip hazards, kill other plants in your garden and damage pools.

Whilst it may seem like a quick and easy solution to just remove the offending root, it’s generally not the best idea in the long run. The root systems of a tree are critical to its health and longevity as they carry nutrients, oxygen and water back to the tree.

If you’ve got a tree root problem, it’s important not to try and just cut the root out without very careful consideration, as you may end up destabilising the tree, making it a safety hazard, and potentially killing the tree.


What should I do for tree root problems?

Always seek the advice of a professional Arborist who can advise you on what action needs to be taken for your particular type of tree and the issues you have, to prevent further damage.

If the roots are relatively small and above ground, sometimes the roots can be pruned back without affecting the tree. This will depend on the type of tree, its size, the location of the tree root and the severity of the problem.

Having a tree root barrier installed can be a great solution to problem tree roots. Root barriers are a preventative measure that can basically train the tree’s roots to grow in a certain direction and away from footpaths, driveways and buildings. A root barrier will essentially hold roots at bay and reduce further damage.

The tree roots are exposed, and a trench is then dug around them. Roots are pruned, and a fungicide solution is applied to the ends of the cut roots. The root barrier is then positioned in the trench, and a layer of bentonite clay is poured into the trench, followed by layers of soil and further clay.

Installing a root barrier can eliminate the need to have a tree removed and allow the tree to live a long life.  Installation should always be supervised by a qualified Arborist experienced in tree growth patterns, who will be able to advise on the best position to insert the barrier and ensure roots are protected to keep the tree healthy.

Depending on the extent of the damage and your particular tree’s root system, tree removal is sometimes necessary as a last resort. This should always be done by a qualified Arborist to minimize the risk of damage to your home and property.

The tree stump should be completely ground out to remove a potential food source for termites.

Which trees have the most invasive root systems in Brisbane?

As they say, prevention is better than cure, so if you have the opportunity to do so, always consider what type of trees and plants you put in your garden as well as where you’re going to put them, to prevent possible root damage down the track.

There are a large number of tree species that have aggressive root systems. Some of the most common include:

  • Figs (Ficus carica)
  • Umbrella trees (Schefflera actinophylla)
  • Eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • Jacaranda trees (Jacaranda mimosifolia)
  • Bottlebrushes (Callistemon sp.)
  • Paperbarks (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
  • Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora)
  • Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)
  • Liquid Amber (Liquidambar styraciflua)

If in doubt, get some advice on what’s best for your home and garden, so you don’t have potentially costly headaches down the track.

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