If you're a homeowner who has trees growing near your driveway -- and those trees have turned out to have big, lumpy roots that are starting to tear up the edge of your driveway -- you have to get the tree moved and the driveway patched or repaved. If you don't, the roots and torn driveway will have effects that could make your life a lot more difficult over time. Here are three things that can happen if you don't get this situation straightened out.
More Driveway Damage
If you leave the tree where it is, the roots will just keep growing and causing more of the driveway to crack. Eventually the tree roots could start to breach the parts of the driveway on which you actually park or drive over. As the asphalt or cement cracks, more of it can fall away and create potholes. These can fill with rainwater, which can erode the soil underneath the driveway and cause more sections of the driveway to crack and possibly cave in.
In addition to the driveway cracking up, your car can sustain damage if you drive over the tree roots or cracked asphalt or cement too quickly. Even if you drive slowly, if your tires kick up bits of the driveway, your car's paint could be damaged.
Tree Instability and Damage
If the tree's roots are just causing the driveway to crack at the edge, the tree itself is likely healthy. But if it gets to the point where you're driving over the roots, or if rainwater causes soil around the roots to erode, the tree can become sick and unstable. This is a difficult issue to deal with because it may be very difficult to tell from the appearance of the tree whether it is still stable or not. Unfortunately, that means you risk the tree falling over or developing diseases if you can't tell if the tree is healthy.
Your best bet in this situation is to get the tree moved (either removed completely or moved to another part of the yard) and the driveway redone. If only the edges are cracked, you may be able to patch the driveway, but if larger portions are cracked, you may have to redo the entire thing. Note that you may also have to have the soil underneath checked out and leveled if there's been erosion. Contact a paving contractor to have the driveway evaluated.