10 Tree Roots Winning Their Battle Against Concrete


Tree roots are incredibly dynamic, they breathe life into trees, and therefore life into us. Without an intricate root system, trees would not be able to take in the proper water and nutrients, plus they would be lacking a solid support system.

Trees provide homes to people and wildlife. Their long branches offer shade from the heat of the sun, and some even grow splendid fruits!  Trees also keep us alive by taking in carbon dioxide and transforming it into oxygen for us to breathe. Amazingly, trees can transform 48 pounds of carbon monoxide in only one year.

Over a lifetime that’s a whole lot of carbon monoxide, especially considering trees can live for way longer than you or I. The oldest tree in the world is over 5,000 years old, and you can find it in the White Mountains of California.

Old and young, tree roots are known to break apart the concrete around them, fast growing tree roots can do so quicker than you can say– “what’s that coming out of the concrete?!”

When unruly roots are not crumbling apart your concrete or home, you can’t help but vote for the tree–after all, we are nothing without trees, while they can live just fine without us. These 11 photos highlight some of the greatest tree roots winning the war against concrete.


These tree roots growing straight up the center of this wall can’t be good for the masonry surface, but it sure does provide an awesome view for all that pass by. 


There are over 23,000 different types of trees in the world, all of which have different types of roots. Some roots are much more vast than others, stretching both incredibly deep and wide. We have all seen a tree or two that breaks up out of the ground, exposing a tangle of roots, but some aggressive root systems are bigger show-offs than others. 


Interestingly, trees are a combination of dead, dying, and living cells. When trees are left to their own devices they can overtake an old abandoned building, turning the place into their very own “tree house.”  


These hand-laid bricks don’t stand a chance against the world’s  largest living organism–the tree. Since trees collect more energy from the sun than any other species, they can grow at rapid rates. In other words, it might not be long before these bricks are all popping out of the ground. 


City trees have the right to protest the concrete confines surrounding them. It’s a fact that trees grown in the city live on average 13 years less than trees that enjoy their natural home amongst fields of other trees. 


Some tree roots grow in a pattern to match the surrounding ground work. These tree roots were able to escape through cracks in the tiles, giving off a really cool checkerboard look.


An extremely large tree doesn’t only hog concrete–it can also hog water. A big tree can consume 100 gallons of water out of the ground a day. To justify this excessive water intake, the same tree supplies enough oxygen to support up to 4 people. 


Massive roots wrap around the Ta Prohm Temple in Agkor, Cambodia. Long before the trees moved in, this temple served as a place for music, dancing, and the walls were adorned with precious stones.

When the temple was rediscovered by the French in the late nineteenth century, it was decided not to remodel because the ficus and silk trees had already merged deeply with the ancient walls.  It’s fitting because the trees are the only souls alive that remember this place for what it once was.

Photo Credits: Worldbeyondyourown, Forz, Pietro Bevilacqua, Calvin Lee, Brad Grove, jakeinator21, Mind Virus, winnie wasono, Horst Kiechle, Wei-Feng Xue, Ali,