Hi, I have a very large, beautiful and old Maple tree in my front yard. 40...

Asked February 3, 2015, 1:52 PM EST

Hi, I have a very large, beautiful and old Maple tree in my front yard. 40 years ago we created an uphill brick path that runs very close to the tree at one point and the tree roots have pushed up some of the bricks. Is it harmful to remove some of the bricks and cut away at the above ground level protruding roots and then replace the bricks? I do not want to do anything to harm the tree but the path has become unsafe to walk on. Thank you ! I love your column and read it every Sunday

Harford County Maryland trees and shrubs maple trees surface roots brick path

1 Response

It is normal for maples to have surface roots. Most of the feeder roots of trees are within the upper 6 inches of soil. Any digging within the root area will cause harm and There is little that can be done for roots damaged by digging. Severe damage can cause branch dieback. All you can do is keep the tree watered during droughts.
You may have to think about removing the bricks and lightly mulching the area.
It is recommended at this point to contact a certified arborist for the best way to proceed with the pathway in this situation. They can also diagnose the health of the tree http://www.treesaregood.org/
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