Deep Root’s Legacy Products: What Is A Root Barrier?

Ever been walking down the street when you tripped on a tree root or a heaved bit of sidewalk? Me too.

I yak on about the Silva Cell a lot on this blog, and it’s true that the Silva Cell is a big source of excitement for us these days. But the bread and butter of our business has, prior to this, always been a family of products that support healthy tree growth in the build environment in other ways. I’ll be talking about our three other products over the course of a few posts.

The name “Deep Root” may actually be most closely associated with a product called Root Barrier, which was developed to solve the problem I opened this post with. (True story: Jim Urban, now a partner of ours, vehemently hated root barriers for a long time thinking that they negatively impacted the tree, which they do not. He actually used to go around wearing a pin that said “Root Barriers” with a big red slash through it — yikes! We’ve patched things up since then).

(Above: without Root Barrier, tree roots looking for water and uncompacted soil volumes hang out near the surface, resulting in heaving sidewalks — a danger for pedestrians and costly to replace.)

(Above: with Root Barrier, tree roots are directed down and away from the surrounding paving.)

Root Barriers are patented mechanical guides that redirect tree roots down and away from hardscapes, preventing costly root damage while preserving the health and beauty of mature trees. They are used to line tree pits and other planting area to redirect roots down, away from the paving. They are used for linear, surround and root pruning applications on both new plantings and existing trees.

Linear Applications provide maximum hardscape protection while utilizing all available rooting space for improved tree health by placing barriers in a straight line directly along the hardscape to be protected.

Surround applications (like the one pictured above) protect hardscapes that surround a planting on all four sides. (In this scenario, you want to plan to line the perimeter of the planting area with the panels – this provides the maximum available uncompacted soil volume for immediate root growth.)

Root pruning applications can help prevent injury and preserve existing trees that are causing hardscape damage. Disruptive roots are cleanly cut and removed; linear Root Barrier is then installed.

Root Barriers come in four different depths (all panels are 2 ft/61 cm wide). We have a number ofcase studies available, as well as FAQs if you’d like to learn more.


  1. Janie Penn

    I once heard that a tree had to be taken down because the roots had gotten into the plumbing/ pipes. Could these barriers guard against that, & what depth might they need to be for that purpose?

    • Leda Marritz

      Thank you for your question. Roots in utilities such as sewers or other pipes is a common question and problem. Each site is very specific. In order to better answer your question, email me directly at [email protected] and I will be able to assist you.
      Kind Regards,
      Rebecca Stevens
      Director of Operations

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