Arborist OnSite® has used Ground Penetrating Radar technology for tree root
mapping for the past 6 years. Here are some of the ways our clients have benefited
Isolating foundation damage from invasive tree roots.
Determining root location and density at construction sites for protected trees.
Determining the actual drip-line of trees for protection at construction sites.
Placement of swimming pools, leach lines and pipes to minimize root damage to existing
Determining location placement of construction piers between lateral root systems for
foundation or retaining wall construction.
Trenching near protected trees, knowing where and where not to dig.
Existing sidewalk, curb or driveway replacement, preventing root damage.
Determining root density and depth to evaluate a tree's stability.
Determining root density for placement of below ground tanks or equipment near protected
Litigation cases such as trip and fall, involving raised concrete sidewalks and tree roots.
Introduction to Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR)
Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) is an established technique that has been used worldwide
for over 40 years to locate objects underground, including pipes, barrels, drums, and other
engineering and environmental targets. When an electromagnetic wave emitted from a small
surface transmit antenna encounters a boundary between objects with different electromagnetic
properties it will reflect, refract, and/ or diffract from the boundary in a predictable manner.
Electromagnetic differences between tree roots and the surrounding soil matrix provide the
necessary contrast and reflection properties that are detected by GPR.
Locating oak tree roots, for placement of a storage tank below ground.
Locating tree roots through a concrete floor, using ground penetrating radar.
Using Ground-Penetrating Radar to locate tree roots for asphalt driveway replacement.
Ground-Penetrating radar as a method of mapping tree roots has several
advantages over other methods of root locating;
It is capable of scanning root systems of large trees under field conditions.
It is completely non-invasive and does not disturb the soils or damage the
trees examined, and causes no harm to the environment.
Being non-invasive, it allows repeated measurements that reveal long-term
root system development.
It allows observation of root distribution beneath hard surfaces (concrete,
asphalt, bricks), roads and buildings.
Its accuracy is sufficient to resolve structural roots with diameters from less
than 1 cm (0.4 in) to 3 cm (1.2 in) or more.
It can characterize roots at both the individual tree and stand levels,
facilitating correlations with tree-and stand-level measurements of physiological processes (e.g., sap flow) in complex ecological studies.