What to Do with Surface Roots?

Oftentimes, yards are plagued with surface roots. This is particularly true with large growing trees. Surface roots can crack sidewalks and affect lawn maintenance tasks. In addition to that, they aren’t attractive to the eye and possibly hazardous underfoot.  

A lot of well-known yard trees have shallow roots. This includes beeches, pin oaks, aspens, willows, silver maples, red maples, and Norway maples. The truth is that any big tree can establish surface roots down the line.  

Of course, you don’t have to hire a tree removal Memphis TN company to get rid of surface roots. There are things you can do to prevent them. 

Oxygen Deficiency Can Lead to Surface Roots 

To keep the tree alive, roots require oxygen. The roots will grow up to the surface in compacted soil to get enough oxygen to thrive. Trees with surface roots often are striving to breathe. They’ll have a hard time adapting to an environment that isn’t best for the tree’s health. 

Poor Quality of the Soil Can Lead to Surface Roots 

The roots of almost every tree are found in the soil’s top 12 inches. These roots grow rarely extremely deep unless you plant your tree in sandy or loose soil. Clay-based or compacted soils cause surface roots. This is particularly true in urban locations where these forms of soil exist. Wind and rain erode the soil around the roots. Thus, the roots will be exposed.  

How to Avoid Surface Roots? 

  • Install Drought-Tolerant Groundcover Under the Tree 

If you want to cover surface roots, you can utilize mulch. The ideal option is to install around 4 inches of mulch under the tree. Make sure the mulch is made of wood chips. With this, you can level the spot while keeping roots moist and cool. It also enables the roots to breathe well. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t place more than 4 inches. Also, don’t pile mulch against the tree’s trunk.  

  • Apply a Material Combination at the Tree’s Base 

If you combine equal parts of compost and topsoil and then install 2 inches of the mixture around the tree’s base, you can help prevent surface roots. During late summer, sow the area using shade-tolerant grass seed. This keeps it watered-properly. Add another 2 inches of the mixture and reseed if the roots are still showing up after 1 year. Keep in mind that there’s a risk that you will suffocate the tree if you add more than 4 inches of soil to the spot. Thus, you shouldn’t do it. 

  • Don’t Cut Surface Roots 

It does not matter how tempted you are. Don’t cut the surface roots. If you cut them, you’re only inviting harmful insects and diseases. In addition to that, these cuts can also impact negatively the stability of a tree. This makes it more likely to fall over during a severe weather condition. Also, if you cut a root, you are also getting rid of a lot of feeder roots that help the tree absorb nutrients and water. This can result in the death of your tree.