Grating Around Trees Debate

You see it in parking lots and sidewalks; grating that surrounds the trunk of the tree, keeping debris away from the soil and draining the sidewalk of excess rain.  Tree grating is available in limitless designs and styles and can be fabricated to meet the needs of the city or corporation installing it.  In an article about Washington DC, David Alpert, explains some benefits and also some concerns that tree grates can hold for a city such as DC.


  • More room for pedestrians to walk around.  Tree boxes take up a lot of space, with tree grating more people could visit a commercial area and be less cramped.
  • Drainage: Tree grates will help drain the sidewalk of slippery liquid.  Some tree grate systems use an incline; storm water flows down from tree to tree.
  • Allowing for more trees: Larger trees or more trees can be used when a large space for a tree box doesn’t have to be considered.


  • Maintenance: If a tree grows too big the grating may be pushed up or the tree trunk may be choked.
  • Bikes get locked to trees if they are that accessible.  Trees can get damaged by people leaning against them.
  • Trip and falls will still be the responsibility of the city.
  • ADA compliance.

SLIPNOT Metal Safety Flooring can help with a few of the safety concerns surrounding tree grating.  SLIPNOT offers a slip resistant surface that exceeds all ADA recommendations for slip resistance.   Grating around trees can be coated by SLIPNOT which will help decrease slip and fall accidents on slippery grating.

Alpert, David. “How Grate are Tree Grates.” June 2010, March 2012.

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