Root Barriers for Commercial Landscaping: Benefits and Options


Commercial properties often feature meticulously designed landscapes that enhance aesthetics and create a welcoming environment for customers and employees alike. While these landscapes contribute to the overall appeal of a property, they can also pose unique challenges, especially when it comes to managing tree and shrub roots. Invasive roots can damage hardscapes, disrupt utilities, and jeopardize the integrity of commercial buildings. Root barriers offer an effective solution for addressing these issues and ensuring the longevity of your commercial landscaping. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits of root barriers for commercial landscaping and the various options available.

The Importance of Root Barriers in Commercial Landscaping

Before we delve into the details of root barriers, it’s crucial to understand why they are essential for commercial landscaping:

1. Protection of Infrastructure: Commercial properties often have extensive hardscapes, including parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways. Invasive tree and shrub roots can cause cracks and upheaval in these areas, posing safety hazards and requiring costly repairs.

2. Utility Preservation: Commercial properties have complex utility networks that include water lines, sewer pipes, and electrical cables. Invasive roots can infiltrate and damage these utilities, leading to service disruptions and substantial repair costs.

3. Aesthetic Continuity: Maintaining a visually appealing and well-kept landscape is crucial for commercial properties. Invasive roots can disrupt landscaping features, create uneven surfaces, and compromise the overall aesthetics of the property.

4. Safety and Liability: Commercial property owners have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for customers and employees. Uneven walkways and tripping hazards caused by root intrusion can lead to liability issues.

The Role of Root Barriers

Root barriers, also known as root control barriers or root containment systems, are specifically designed to address the challenges posed by invasive tree and shrub roots in commercial landscaping. These barriers create a physical shield that guides root growth away from sensitive areas, preventing damage and preserving the integrity of the landscape.

Key Benefits of Root Barriers for Commercial Landscaping

Installing root barriers in commercial landscaping can provide several significant benefits:

1. Damage Prevention: The primary advantage of root barriers is the prevention of damage to hardscapes, utilities, and landscaping features. They eliminate the need for costly repairs and maintenance.

2. Reduced Maintenance: Commercial property owners can enjoy reduced maintenance efforts with root barriers in place. The constant pruning and removal of invasive roots become unnecessary.

3. Improved Safety: Root barriers contribute to the safety of the property by eliminating tripping hazards and maintaining even surfaces in walkways and other high-traffic areas.

4. Cost Savings: Investing in root barriers is a cost-effective solution compared to the expenses associated with repairing damage caused by invasive roots. It’s a wise investment that protects your budget.

5. Enhanced Aesthetics: Root barriers help preserve the visual appeal of your commercial landscaping by preventing the disruption of hardscapes and landscaping features.

Options for Root Barriers in Commercial Landscaping

When it comes to root barriers for commercial landscaping, several options are available. The choice of root barrier depends on the specific needs of the property and the types of plants involved. Here are some common options:

1. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Barriers:

HDPE root barriers are durable and can withstand the pressure exerted by growing roots. They are suitable for long-term effectiveness and are often used in commercial landscaping projects.

2. Plastic Sheet Barriers:

Plastic sheet barriers are cost-effective and easy to install. They are ideal for smaller-scale projects where a more flexible solution is needed.

3. Root Barrier Panels:

Root barrier panels are solid, rigid barriers that are suitable for straight-line installations. They are commonly used for creating barriers along walkways and driveways.

4. Flexible Root Barrier Rolls:

Flexible root barrier rolls are versatile and can be used in irregular-shaped areas. They offer flexibility in shaping the barrier to fit the landscape.

5. Composite Barriers:

Composite root barriers combine different materials to offer enhanced durability and flexibility. They are an excellent choice for challenging commercial landscaping projects.

Installation of Root Barriers for Commercial Landscaping

Installing root barriers in commercial landscaping requires careful planning and execution. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

1. Identify Problem Areas:

Begin by identifying the areas within your commercial landscaping where invasive tree and shrub roots are causing issues. These areas may include spots with visible damage, utility interference, or safety concerns.

2. Gather Supplies:

You’ll need the following supplies for the installation:

  • Root barrier material (chosen based on your specific needs)
  • Shovel or trenching machine
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Backfill soil

3. Determine Barrier Depth and Height:

Determine the appropriate depth and height for your root barrier. This will depend on the types of plants and the specific issues you are addressing.

4. Excavate a Trench:

Using a shovel or trenching machine, excavate a trench along the areas where you plan to install the root barrier. The trench’s depth should match the desired depth of the barrier, and the width should accommodate the root barrier material.

5. Install the Root Barrier:

Unroll or place the chosen root barrier material into the trench, ensuring that it extends above the soil surface as per your determined height. If necessary, you can cut the barrier material to fit the trench’s length.

6. Secure the Barrier:

Secure the root barrier by backfilling the trench with soil. Tamp down the soil to eliminate air pockets and ensure that the barrier remains in place. Add soil until the trench is filled, and the barrier is firmly anchored.

7. Monitor for Efficacy:

After installation, periodically monitor the areas to ensure that the root barrier effectively redirects invasive tree and shrub root growth. Any root growth should be directed away from sensitive areas.


Commercial properties require well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing landscapes to create a positive impression and provide a safe environment for customers and employees. However, the challenges posed by invasive tree and shrub roots can threaten the integrity and appeal of commercial landscaping. Root barriers offer an effective solution for addressing these challenges and protecting your commercial landscaping investment. By preventing damage to hardscapes, utilities, and landscaping features, root barriers ensure that your property remains visually appealing, safe, and cost-effective to maintain



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