If you are a homeowner who is trying to landscape around a driveway, trees and shrubs might be high on your list, with visions of blossoming allées running through your head. However, the reality of planting trees and shrubs trained into tree shapes requires more practical thinking. The trees can make a driveway look calming and inviting -- or they can wreak havoc on your car and the asphalt. Here are four things to consider when landscaping around a driveway.
This is a major consideration. Trees spread roots, and even if the roots appear small when you first get the tree, think about what they'll look like as the tree grows older and larger. Roots can spread under the driveway asphalt and crack the surface, increasing the risk of someone tripping, of tires being damaged, and of potholes forming as more of the asphalt chips away. You must find trees that do not have aggressive, spreading roots. If you use shrubs trained into tree shapes, do not plant them right next to the asphalt thinking that those roots will be less destructive.
Canopies and Branches
If you do find a tree species that you want to plant, be aware of tree canopies that can grow into the driveway space, blocking cars and allowing pests to crawl onto the car. You must keep trees well-trimmed so that the canopy doesn't make it impossible to drive in. Also be aware that overhanging branches can break and fall on the car and asphalt, denting metal and chipping the asphalt's top sealant coat. That allows moisture to get into the asphalt and create potholes.
Sometimes planting a row of the same tree species can look very nice, but that opens you up to the risk of the trees developing a disease and all dying. You'd have to remove all of the trees, which could mean damaging the edge of the driveway asphalt as the stumps are removed.
Leaf/Blossom Drop and Rake Damage
If you get deciduous trees to line the driveway, or if you get blossoming trees (like pear trees), be prepared for a lot of leaf and petal cleanup. You can use a broom on the asphalt, but you'll have to use a rake on any nearby grass -- and if the rake's tines hit the asphalt, that could chip the sealant coat. Either choose trees that are evergreen and that don't have a lot of blossoms to drop, or take extra care to keep the rake well away from the edge of the driveway.
If you want more suggestions for landscaping around a driveway while protecting the asphalt and its top sealant coat, talk to paving and sealant companies like Precision Lawn & Landscaping. They have seen landscaping and asphalt interact in the real world and can give you tips for keeping the asphalt safe.