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What to do with Surface Tree Roots in the Yard?

Posted on: September 4,2014

tree surface root

For lawns and yards often the mounted tree roots on the land surface causes enough troubles. Not only on the evenly smooth surface they look like rash spots but they also make the mowing job a challenge. These surface roots often prove to be detrimental to the health of grass on the yard or nearby plantations. Moreover, they make you stumble and cause enough pain for your smooth walk through the lawn. Generally the problem is addressed by covering these roots with ground soil or by cutting the roots. Cutting such surface roots is not advisable as it can do enough damage to the tree life and longevity. Such cuts can finally lead to setting rot at the tree base and can permanently damage the tree growth and life. Furthermore, arborists suggest that adding soil over the roots and covering it also can prove to be harmful for the tree life and growth.

Signs of root injury

When a tree receives injury in its roots symptoms of decay begin to appear soon. Such injury is often caused when the roots appear above the ground surface. Definitely the decaying signs will vary as per the age, species and health of the tree and the severity of the damage caused to its roots. Here below we provide some common symptoms of decay caused by injury in the tree roots.

  • Smaller and pale colored leaves.
  • Leaves and tree having an appearance of premature fall.
  • Dead twigs showing up all over the tree canopy.
  • Death of large tree branches.

Tree types most prone to such decay 

Some trees show faster signs of decay than others if their roots get injured. Sugar maple, dogwood, beech, oak, pines and spruce are some of the tree types that show bigger signs of injury if hurt at their roots. Comparatively birch and hemlock feel less damaged by this root fill injury. Elms, willow, pin oak and locust are other varieties of tree which get less affected by such damage to their roots. Generally older trees that stopped growing are more prone to receive damage from root injury than younger trees with growth and vigor.

Then what we can do with surface roots in our garden? 

To be precise, just considering these bumpy roots with more affection solves the problem. A large tree with wide open branches would have complex root system and in the natural process some of its roots may appear on the ground surface. To make these bumpy spots on the ground giving you problem rather adjust your gardening plan or landscape. You can also consider cutting a bed around the tree root system and filling it with coarse mulch. But while doing this remember that the soil over the tree roots should not cover more than an inch deep. Trying to make grass grow in such spots is futile as natural toxins of tree roots will play adverse role to the growth of grass.