Hard Surface Cleaning

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Problems with trees and tennis courts

A selection of beautiful trees is an essential part of any garden – and very likely to be part of the landscape in which your tennis court has been, or is going to be, built. With forethought, planning and regular maintenance, trees and tennis courts can co-exist happily without tree root problems and other difficulties – so you can enjoy the beauty of your trees whenever you play.

To be on the safe side, it’s worth understanding some of the possible problems with trees near tennis courts – in particular with a few tree species that have particularly extensive shallow root structures. Starting with minor concerns and moving on to more serious issues, here are some of the tree problems you could encounter:

  • Leaf drop
  • Overhanging branches and sap drop
  • Creating an environment for moss spores
  • Tree root spread (direct and indirect damage from tree root growth)
Asphalt Tennis court cleaning south gloucestershire

As ever, avoiding problems with trees and tennis courts relies on common sense, planning and regular preventative maintenance. And maybe the use of a suitable root barrier too...

Leaf drop

Leaves from most broad-leafed trees shouldn’t cause many problems. If you need to use the court after leaves have fallen, they can be removed quickly and easily. And of course, as we explain in [‘Eradicating hard-surface tennis court moss’]), beneath a pile of fallen leaves is one place that troublesome moss spores almost certainly won’t thrive!

Overhanging branches and sap

Overhanging trees could cause problems if the branches shade the surface of the tennis court and promote lingering damp – moss and algae love conditions like this. Damage from tree sap is another reason why you should lop overhanging branches regularly, along with avoiding the possibility of surface damage if large boughs fall during gales.

Trees planted too close to the court

Problems with severe leaf fall and overhanging branches probably mean the trees are close to your court. And if that’s the case, tree root spread is likely to be a concern too. Three species are particularly problematic:

  • Silver birch
  • Poplar
  • Ash

Each has roots that stay close to the surface; roots that can get under your court and push the tarmac up. Poplar is particularly notorious for its water-seeking roots and the damage they can do to structures such as tennis courts and drainage. Poplar roots can easily spread to nearly three times the c. 25m height of the fully-grown tree. It’s easy to see how, without suitable root barriers, extensive damage happens in areas thought to be well outside the tree’s influence. As a tennis court owner, such tree roots can easily get into the foundation of your court and raise the tarmac with these consequences:

  • Unattractive appearance
  • Potential danger to players
  • Costly remedial works if allowed to develop

As well as the direct action of spreading roots, indirect action can also cause problems if roots draw moisture from the ground during dry summers – especially where subsoil is shrinkable clay.

Solutions to tree root spread

Various methods exist to prevent or cure tree root spread without damaging or killing the tree. For instance, construction of an approximately metre-deep trench between the court and the tree(s) before installing a vertical root barrier membrane (such as DuPont™ Root Barrier). Made from advanced materials, a high-quality root barrier has these qualities:

  • Resistance to root penetration
  • High tensile strength
  • Biologically inert
  • Resistance to biodegradation
  • Easy installation

Planning for your new or existing tennis court

As always, prevention beats cure in straight sets. So if you’re planning a new tennis court, it’s worth thinking about trees and construction from the outset. Most importantly, remember not to plant trees too close to your court if you want to avoid problems later – particularly with any of the aforementioned species.

If your trees are established, consider seeking professional help to avoid damage to your court. And if they’re they’re new? Choose and position your trees wisely before relaxing and enjoying their presence over the years ahead.