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Homeowner shares photo of inadvisable landscaping mistake promoted by local company: 'This has definitely caused damage'

"Caught this one in a concrete ad for a local company."

"Caught this one in a concrete ad for a local company."

Photo Credit: iStock

A Reddit post highlighted the risk of altering a tree's habitat with a common but environmentally unfriendly material.

In r/arborists, a user shared a screenshot that showed the trunk of a tall, seemingly healthy tree surrounded by what looked like a new patio.

"Caught this one in a concrete ad for a local company," they wrote. "How long does the tree have?"

"Caught this one in a concrete ad for a local company."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The thread was full of informative speculation, and a number of qualified experts chimed in, including certified arborists.

"This has definitely caused damage," one said. "All of the absorptive roots are covered with an impermeable layer, so no water and no gas exchange.

"This will cause stress and contribute to decline."

Another responded to a comment that stated, "It's possible they put down structural soil or a suspended sidewalk first."

"If it was in an ad piece," they wrote, continuing, "you're looking at two possibilities: 1. They have the expertise to do all that, and yet they didn't mention it in their advertisement, or 2. They don't know enough about trees to know they just advertised that they kill trees.

"I know which option I think is more likely."

Others also pointed out that tree roots are "wide" rather than "quite deep."

Even so, placing so much concrete around a living thing was sure to create a problem — whether it be with the tree or with the pavement, which could be destroyed by the roots. (A couple of commenters noted the lack of joints in the concrete.)

And a hot summer could fry the roots underneath the patio or create an urban heat island effect, radiating unforgiving conditions around the tree.

Concrete is so common that some of us don't even notice its ubiquity. It's also quite harmful, creating 7% of the world's carbon pollution, mostly because the creation of cement, a primary component, is so energy-intensive. The industry also accounts for 9% of all water withdrawals.

Thankfully, there are eco-conscious alternatives, including green concrete and other versions made with coffee grounds, milk, beer, and urine.

The most-upvoted comment read: "Tree will be fine. That concrete is f***** though."

"As the tree matures it grows its roots at the proper soil depth for that species so the roots can 'breathe' properly, and then when you drop a big slab of concrete on top you change all of that," another Redditor said. "Trees that grow slowly tend to be less affected by this than trees that grow quickly."

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