My sidewalk is buckling because of tree roots. What can be done?

In the City of Newport, sidewalk management and repair is the responsibility of the adjacent homeowner. The City also recognizes that there are some residents who lament the presence of urban trees, due to the potential for sidewalk damage. However, trees have been proven to be critical to our vibrant community because of the benefits in air quality, public health, and property value boost they provide. For these reasons, the City of Newport works diligently to balance the needs of the community across all these topics.

If you have a buckling sidewalk from tree roots, please note that cutting large roots to allow for sidewalk is not permitted, as it can reduce the stability (and thus safety) of a tree.

Consider replacing the sidewalk with a curved edge to make more room for the tree and all the benefits it provides.

If large roots are in place, the city arborist can work with your sidewalk contractor to ensure any construction will not cause the tree to become unstable (root cutting), while ensuring the sidewalk is replaced properly.

The following are curved alternatives to help address sidewalk/tree conflicts.

Curved Sidewalks Around Trees

Sidewalk Built Around Tree

The following is an example of root cuts in a sidewalk repair. This is not permitted. This tree would be considered structurally unstable and unsafe.

Tree Roots Cut During Sidewalk Repair

Show All Answers

1. What constitutes a public tree?
2. Who owns and cares for public trees in Newport?
3. My street tree needs to be pruned. What do I do?
4. I would like a street tree. What are the options?
5. How to care for a new street tree?
6. I'm worried my tree is unhealthy. What do I do?
7. My sidewalk is buckling because of tree roots. What can be done?
8. Can I plant other things in a tree lawn/well?
9. Duke tops my trees every few years. It looks awful. What can be done?
10. I don’t like my tree, or my tree is causing problems. What can be done?
11. I have a tree on my own private property. Do I need permission to remove it?