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Root barriers

Urban planning policies are designed to encourage the inclusion of green spaces and features within hardscapes and developments. Requirements such as Biodiversity Net Gain and Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDs) mean green infrastructure is an ever more important part of modern urban planning. Managing the root systems and vegetation effectively makes a big difference to the maintenance regime on such schemes.

Protecting Infrastructure

Green infrastructure provides a wide range of benefits contributing to flood resilience, pollution and noise reduction, providing wildlife habitat and promoting healthier communities. The design of green infrastructure is important, as integrating nature into urban landscapes brings with it a dilemma. The need for plants to grow roots through fertile soils to access nutrients and water to flourish has to be balanced against the need for roads, pavements and structures. Managing this interaction successfully is the key to avoiding future repair and maintenance costs of structures and pavements damaged by roots.

Root barriers are typically used to protect structures and hardscapes from direct or indirect damage by roots. Infrastructure below ground including utilities and pipework can also be damaged  or compromised by roots, leading to leaks, blockages and costly repairs. Pavement heave, also known as root heave, is the upward displacement and damage of pavement caused by the radial growth of superficial tree roots. GEOfabrics CuTex is a proven way to control roots in urban environment.

Invasive Species

Invasive species, such as Japanese Knotweed, can be particularly problematic and subject to legislation. Japanese Knotweed is often found on brownfield developments, railways and roadsides, and while having the plant on your land is not illegal failing to prevent the spread can attract substantial penalties. Invasive species include those listed Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and include Bamboo, Field Horsetail and Rhododendron. Root barriers can form a key part of a management strategy to control and contain the spread of such species. Research by the University of Leeds has shown CuTex to be an effective barrier to these species.

Root barriers may be used autonomously or alongside a physical treatment such as excavation & removal, sifting or herbicide such Glysophate. The type of barrier selected should be based upon site conditions, local hydrology and the species.

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