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Tree Roots and Lifted Sidewalk (IL)

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From: Kathie Daugherty
Wood River, IL
I have a maple tree that was planted about 8-9 feet from where they had put in a concrete walk to the porch, within the last year or so we have noticed the sidewalk is lifting, quite a bit, but the driveway is not. I have not noticed any cracking or the spacing between the sidewalk pieces changing. We may end up replacing the sidewalk and if we find a root is the problem, and it needs removed, will this kill the tree? I am already losing an old oak tree due to a large infestation of some sort of bug creating elongated galls and really don't want to remove the only other tree in the front of the house. I would appreciate any help/suggestions you can provide

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Hi Kathie:

It is generally not advisable to remove roots greater than 2-inches in diameter from mature trees implicated in causing lifted sidewalks. Essentially, root pruning should be considered as the method of last resort because root pruning can lead to structural instability, reduced vigor, and possible mortality.

Options in lieu of root pruning to consider include shaving lifted concrete; slabjacking; asphalt ramps; bridging; rerouting the sidewalk; etc.

Because I am not an expert on this subject, may I recommend the following article by The Bartlett Lab Staff / Bartlett Tree Experts:

Best of luck!

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