By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Roots, roots and more roots
Placeholder Image

What we homeowners have in common are maintenance and solving problems around the home. When most of us step out the door, we see something that needs our attention. If not, it certainly will make itself apparent later.

A problem made itself apparent when I stepped out the door one day on my way to my car in the driveway. Most of us enjoy just walking around our homes, admiring the effects of our daily maintenance, enjoying its appearance, especially in the spring when the plants begin to bloom. It’s restful and we enjoy the day, but let roots appear under our driveway and our joys are over. This is the case when trees are near an asphalt driveway. It is especially disturbing when we compare it to the appearance before the roots showed. The next thought is, “How we are going to deal with the problem without tearing up the surface of the driveway?” I suppose there are possible other methods for solving such problems.

I have developed a method, not being aware of others that might just solve this problem.

The largest crack stretches about 5 feet along the edge of the driveway. There are several others that aren’t as large. The widest part of the crack is about 1½ inches. The root must be a large one, just looking at the size of the crack.

There were four items I thought were necessary to do the project: A pick mattock, a long electric chord on a reel, a pad to sit on, and a large slow-turning drill. Attached to the drill is a 15-inch long masonry drill bit to serve as a probing tool to search for the root. The pick mattock was not used, it was just there for possible use.

Begin the probing where the root enters the driveway. In the process of probing for roots, no matter where they are, consideration must be given to the effect on the tree. Severing a large root may damage the tree. With a little practice, one can determine the size of the root — they are about 2 to 8 inches below the crack. I have learned that the length of a root extends out no farther than the most-distant limb of a tree.

The objective was to drill through the crack in an attempt to hit the root. Once the root had been detected, make several attempts in up and down motions to sever the root without making another hole in the surface of the driveway.

There was a distinct difference in determining whether the object struck by the probing drill bit was a root or a large rock. A root has a much softer impact when the drill bit hits it. Judgment will determine this. At times, the bit turned up wood chips, noting that pay dirt had been hit, but most of the time that didn’t occur.

So what happens next? Well, now we have to wait to see if my approach to the root problems is correct. Did I completely sever the roots? I suppose it will take at least a year to determine the results. If the root deteriorates, the cracks will shrink to the normal driveway surface. Then all that has to be done will be to fill in some small holes with a material that will match the original driveway surface. All that will be seen will be a few, neat little spots made by the drill. The whole problem will have been solved without tearing up any part of the driveway. Try it — it might just work.

Francis Bond lives in Richmond Hill.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters