A Guide on Surface Roots and How to Deal with Them

Surface roots growing on the yard usually spell trouble for most homeowners. The roots make it hard to maintain your lawn and increase the risk of damaging your lawnmower. Besides, the surface roots can buckle your walkways and crack pavements. They are also a major trip hazard and are an unsightly protrusion on your lawn.

What Causes Surface Roots?

Several reasons may cause trees to develop surface roots. Some trees such as silver maple, beech, poplar, and willow naturally have shallow roots. There is a higher chance that the roots will burst to the surface. Additionally, environmental factors such as soil quality may result in roots popping above the ground. Low oxygenated soils and compacted soils may also cause plants to develop surface root systems.

However, any large, old tree can grow roots above ground. Contrary to what most homeowners believe, most tree roots are only four to twenty inches deep. As the root continues to grow in circumference, it pushes the soil, and eventually, they protrude on the surface.

How do you deal with surface roots?

Root Pruning

One way to deal with the protruding roots is to prune them. However, most tree cutting services would only recommend pruning if the root is damaging your home.

Root pruning should be a measure of last resort and should ideally only be done after consulting a certified arborist. Remember, the injuries caused while pruning may become an entry point for diseases and harmful insects. Again, the lateral roots are vital in maintaining your tree’s stability, and chopping them may weaken the tree’s support system. You might also interrupt water and nutrient supply, which may result in dead trees.

Always look for a professional tree trimming service to carry out the root pruning. They have the tools and expertise that allow them to make clean single cuts on the offending roots. This allows the tree to heal faster while minimizing the risk of root rot. Safety is another reason to opt for a professional tree service. The U.S. Bureau of Statistics estimates there are over 200 tree-related fatal injuries recorded each year.

Top Soil Cover

You may also opt for a less damaging solution- to cover the surface roots with approximately two inches of topsoil and compost. It is only a temporary solution as the root will eventually break out again as it continues to grow and expand in diameter. It is also vital to know that some trees species such as beech may die due to suffocation if you add too much soil.

Use Mulch and Ground Cover

Your best bet for a healthier tree would be to opt to put two inches of mulch underneath the tree. You can also plant drought-tolerant ground cover to help level out the area. It would save you the trouble of having to mow under the tree and still keep your roots cool and moist. Be careful not to injure the surface roots as you dig holes to plant the shrubs and ground cover.

Protruding surface roots can easily become a source of stress and worry among homeowners. While you might be tempted to uproot or prune the hazardous trees yourself, it is not always the best bet. A better alternative is to find a tree removal service company to do it for you.

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