Surface tree roots are any roots that break through the surface of the ground.
You might be mowing your lawn and have to go around them, or you might notice paving stones starting to shift and lift up next to a tree due to roots breaking through. As well as being a nuisance for your lawn or garden areas, it can also cause damage to the tree itself.
So what can you do about surface tree roots?
Can surface tree roots harm the tree?
One of the problems with surface tree roots is that by coming above ground, they could lead to damage in the tree itself.
Typically, tree roots expand horizontally just below the surface of the ground. This allows them to take in the nutrients and moisture from the soil, but also access plenty of oxygen from the air. As they grow and expand, they can end up above the surface, where they can no longer access as much moisture and nutrients in the soil.
Additionally, by being above the surface, tree roots can be cut by lawn mowers, or trod on repeatedly.
If there is a lot of damage to the tree roots, they can adversely affect the health of the tree. That could mean anything from diminished growth, to branch dieback, leaf scorch, yellow leaves, fungal infections, or even a tree that leans over and eventually topples.
Essentially, surface tree roots are a nuisance and an eyesore as the best case scenario. In the worst case scenario, they can become damaged and negatively affect the health of the tree, potentially causing a hazard if the tree becomes unstable.
What can you do about surface tree roots?
Unfortunately, that means that you can’t simply cut the roots back. Chopping them off or cutting into surface tree roots in any way will simply only damage them and cause problems for the tree.
Instead, the best option is usually to cover the roots with a fresh layer of topsoil. This will essentially re-bury the roots below the surface and keep them out of harm’s way. Keep in mind, it’s best not to put too much topsoil over the roots, as you still want them to be able to access the oxygen just under the surface.
If you don’t want to plant grass over the surface tree roots, you can also opt for a simple mulch to cover them for an aesthetically pleasing solution.
Finally, you have the option of removing the tree completely. Tree removal might be the preferable option if you don’t get any enjoyment from the tree, if you’d rather plant something else in its place, or if the tree is already badly damaged from surface root trauma.
Professional tree maintenance services in Wellington
It can be hard to know the best option for maintaining and caring for the trees on your property. If you’re unsure what to do about surface tree roots or a damaged tree, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team at Urban Tree Services.
Our experienced arborists can work with you to find the best solution for your exposed tree roots, whether that’s covering them up to help the tree thrive and improve the appearance of your backyard, or removing them entirely so you can start fresh.