Tree roots can do serious damage to cement slabs, sidewalks, patios and driveways when their roots grow beneath and lift them up. Installing a root barrier between the tree and cement is an effective way to prevent this destruction. Root barriers are made from a variety of materials, but they all are installed basically in the same way.
Dig a trench with a dirt shovel right next to the cement slab on the side where the tree is planted. Make the trench 1 foot deep or deep enough to contain the barrier. The top edge of the barrier should be at or just above the soil line.
Dig the trench a minimum of 12 feet long. Make sure it extends 6 feet or more beyond the outer edge of the tree branches in either direction along the cement slab.
Place the barrier into the trench. Shovel the soil back into the trench, tamping it down while filling so that it holds the barrier firmly in place. Enlist the help of a neighbor or friend to hold the barrier upright while filling in the trench.