The roots on a tree (nearly 10 years old) that is part of our landscape package are starting to come above ground. What does this mean and is it possible we will need to have the tree removed?
Boone County Kentucky
Tree roots come up for air. They need oxygen, and our Kentucky clay soils don't have enough oxygen down where the roots are, so the roots grow to shallower soil or to the surface so the tree can survive. Maples, such as red maples, do this a lot. They are also known as swamp maples, since wet sites also don't have much oxygen in the soil, so roots are used to coming up for air.
You don't need to remove the tree. Sometimes, exposed roots can be covered with mulch (not soil). If there is only one you are hitting with the lawn mower, you can probably cut it off (where it sticks above the ground) without seriously damaging the tree.