Using Ground Penetrating Radar to find Tree Roots

In the wake of a comprehensive CPD training session, centered around PAS128:2022 (utility survey standard), an in-depth discussion into the applications of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) unveiled a fascinating avenue—mapping tree roots. What initially began as a passing comment during the training, highlighting the potential of GPR technology evolved into a complex and intriguing project.

We undertook a smaller, proof of concept for the client, to give them an idea of the information that could be identified using GPR, and they were pleased with the results. Following this success developed the methodology for a larger survey to incorporate the full area in question.

Tree Root Survey

Through our in depth knowledge of the tools and technology we were able provide our client with the PAS128 survey they required, as well as providing a bespoke specialist survey around a section of trees so that they could further understand the root spread.

Our survey results, presented in a clear and concise manner, proved where the roots were located under the ground, this information satisfied the clients’ needs as it was undesirable for the root spread to be heading towards a building nearby. Find out more about tree roots and Root Protection Areas here.

We used a Mala Easy Locator Core GPR. By creating a tight grid of transects at 0.2m intervals, a much smaller mapping grid than a utility survey for example, and mapped in 2 directions to we were able to generate an effective model that could be used for processing.

Once the data was processed, it was clear to the client where the roots were located and heading so no debrief was needed on this occasion. Ultimately the client was delighted with the result as they had the valuable information they needed regarding the root system and were then able to decide on which course of action to take.

CAD tree root image