Will Cutting Tree Roots on Lawn Surface Kill a Tree

If you have giant trees in your yard, the roots may grow on top of the ground. This can be a pain because it makes grass maintenance difficult and poses a safety hazard. Surface roots in sidewalks can cause them to fracture. They may also be unsightly. How do you remove them without harming the tree? What causes surface roots? We’ll address these questions and others!

Some trees have shallow roots. This means that their roots are not very deep in the ground. A few examples of trees with thin roots are beeches, oaks, willows, and maples. After a certain amount of time, any large tree can start to grow surface roots. It just depends on how the roots grow.

Bad soil can bring surface roots.

For the most part, tree roots are observed near the ground’s surface. Tree roots seldom grow very deep in loose and sandy soil unless they’re in a hurry. Surface rooting is most typical in compacted or clay-based soil commonly found in cities. The roots of a tree spread farther and deeper into the earth over time, breaking through the soil’s surface. The soil around the roots is worn away by rainfall and wind, making them more evident.

Surface roots can be a result of not enough oxygen.

Roots need oxygen to survive. In compacted soil, they grow up to the surface to get more oxygen. Trees with surface roots are not doing well because there is insufficient oxygen.

How do I circumvent surface roots?

If you have surface roots on a tree or trees, you can do a few things. Trimming the roots is one alternative. Another choice is to install a root barrier.

Do not chop and remove surface roots.

Whether you live in a city or suburbs, if your tree grows too close to an electrical line, it can suffer from electrical damage. While trimming a tree might seem like a good idea, don’t cut away the offender’s branches. They can provide an easy entrance point for disease and pests if removed. Cutting the roots of a tree can kill it. This is because the tree needs its roots to get water and food. If you cut the roots, the tree might die or start to lose its leaves.

Add topsoil to the base of the tree.

To help deal with surface roots:

  1. Mix equal parts topsoil and compost.
  2. Add one or two inches of topsoil around the tree’s base.
  3. Add grass seed, around August to keep it moist. Put on a couple more inches of the mix, if the roots are still very visible.
  4. Do not overdress the tree’s base, though, or it will not have enough oxygen to survive.

You could use drought-tolerant groundcover instead of grass to save you time mowing it. You could also use moss as a groundcover to imitate nature.

Add mulch to your surface roots.

Under the tree, you should put down four inches of mulch, ideally wood chips. This will level out the area and keep the roots cool and wet. Ensure not to put down more than four inches of mulch and avoid piling it up against the tree trunk.

Try not to plant trees with shallow roots.

Your tree will eventually have some surface roots if you have compact or clay soil. However, some trees are more likely to develop surface roots than others. Avoid notorious trees for growing surface roots like aspens, beeches, and some maples. These trees have deeper roots that are inherently more prone to causing problems in your environment.

Opt for trees with root systems that grow deep down

Some trees have stronger roots than others. These trees generate fewer surface roots and are far more durable than others. Planetree, yellowwood, and zelkova are some of the best trees with strong roots. Blue atlas cedar, black gum, ginkgo, and golden rain tree are some of the finest choices.

Try planting a tree of a smaller size.

You may also pick a shorter tree, such as magnolia, lilac, Japanese maple, cherry, dogwood, mimosa, and paperbark maple.

Be careful not to plant trees too far down in the soil

Planting your tree deep in the earth will not stop the surface roots from growing. We recommend planting trees two inches above ground level. Be sure the root ball isn’t too dry.

Allow the space of your tree to grow.

If you have pavement nearby, allow some room for the tree. Arborists should plant a large tree at least 6 feet away from paved areas. If you intend to plant your tree between a sidewalk and a street, make sure the planting area is at least 8 feet broad, and no utility wires are above it. Otherwise, pick a different variety. Check with your local forestry department before planting to see if there are any restrictions or specific guidelines.

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