We have a maple tree, one of whose roots is causing patio pavers to rise. The pavers are 10 - 12 feet from the tree. Should I either chisel off enough to level the pavers or remove the section of root? What is the recommended approach?
It is not worth modifying the pavers as the root(s) will continue to grow and lift. I can't plant anything in my yard without cutting roots, usually the size of you photo or smaller. I recently (one year ago) cut 2" and 4" roots about 3 ft. from an oak and it did not bother the tree. I have cut 4" roots from pines a few times , the reason I avoid it is that it is a lot work in a difficult location ; I have never seen a tree show any stress. I can't imagine cutting any roots 10 feet from a tree having a significant effect on the tree. I have "bare root" transplanted 3" silver maples and red buds , that is significant root loss, and never had a problem ( done when dormant). This remind me I have to cut a few 2" roots of a fig tree as they are on the surface and getting to be a problem for tripping and lawn mowing.
If you cut or chisel the roots you damage the tree. This close to the tree trunk will cause die back.
Raising the soil around the tree will also cause die back unless it's done slowly over a few years.
If the health of the tree is a priority a deck raised on a 2" x 4"'s sitting on a block or slabs will provide a level surface and allow the oxygen that the tree needs to get to the roots.
An arborist we've worked with before looked at our situation and provided this:
First he looked at the drip zone defined by the spread of branches. He then said that, in general, it was okay to cut off a root that was less than one-third of the trunk's diameter outside the drip zone. (This doesn't mean one can do this for all roots outside the drip zone!) So for the root in question - out it will go.