Help for Urban Trees – Rubber


Remember our recent discussion here of the terrible predicament that our city trees find themselves in?  Well, according to today’s Washington Post, rubber sidewalks may be the answer to their woes.

Concrete suffocates tree roots, which then grow upward to fight for air and water.  The roots break the concrete, which trips the pedestrians, who sue the city.  Rubber sidewalk panels have quarter-inch spaces between them that let air and water through, so tree roots grow downward like they should.

The walkways are made of ground recycled tires molded into squares; one old car tire can make one square-foot of bouncy pavement.  They can be cut and molded around truncks and roots, and if crews need to get anything beneath, they just lift the sidewalk.

Apparently rubber sidewalks are being tested in 10 states and if you prefer your sidewalks in a "snappy red," there’s a Wal-Mart in Texas with a sidewalk you’ll adore.

Previous articleThank you, Pamela Lord!
Next articleEarth to Brya
Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).
  • Also in Greenbelt, MD, writing the e-newsletter and serving on the Board of Directors for the cooperatively-owned music and arts venue and restaurant called the NEW DEAL CAFE.

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.


  1. I hope the tests prove to be successful and that the sidewalks will be economically feasible. It sounds like a win-win-win kind of scenario: old tires get recycled, the urban trees are happier and I’m willing to bet they’d be a lot easier on the feet too!

    Thumbs up to whoever had the idea to begin with!

Comments are closed.