I am working on a project that has 3 large caliper live oaks that need to be saved, but will be in a parking area. We are looking to use grasspave and/or pavers over the root zone of the trees, supported by large clean aggregate (about 12″ depth). The aggregate and paving will be contained by a low wall that runs around the drip line.
The current site has allowed parking on the root zone for years. The material is clean fill gravel. There is a building next to the largest tree, which will be replaced by a new, LEED-rated building.
From one K-State Grad to another…I have 15 years in Florida with our live oaks. Live oaks are hardy trees, which like dry feet. The only concern with live oaks are when the site is raised thus creating water well within the drip zone. If grading create water retention area in the root zone, then the long term result (10-15 years) the roots will rot and during the next hurricane will blow down. It looks like from your photos that grading is not an issue, but if it is, you been warned.
We definitely don’t want the tree to have that situation. We think that adding combination drainage/air circulation perf pipe will help with that issue. If we can get the pipe to circumvent the dripline and get some pipe running up into the dripline, it will help.
First, if vehicles have been parking on the Critical Root Zone for years the trees already are compromised. It really doesn’t matter whether you use pavers or not. Check the trees limbs for dieback and try to do a soil probe to determine how compacted the root zone is. How close to the tree will the paving be?
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