Surface roots

Asked August 3, 2015, 11:27 AM EDT

I have 5 very large blue spruce on the East side of my house, they are about 30 years old. Although they are about 30 feet from the house there surface roots are raised up from 3 to 5 inches above the ground and are running to the house, about l root per tree. I am worried they are going to get into the foundation, also they are hard to mow over. Is it safe to remove them and not harm the trees?

Lapeer County Michigan trees and shrubs

1 Response

Cutting roots may cause a change in the health of these trees and that does not mean improved.. It's one thing if you are cutting where they touch the foundation and a much different thing when you cut them close to the trunk.

The roots are keeping this tree upright in strong winds and when you begin cutting the "anchor ropes," this can cause trouble.

Unless you have a Michigan foundation which used to be loosely piled rocks, the roots do not have much ability to damage a foundation that is block or poured. The roots should not be that large in diameter 30 ft. away.

If you are hitting the raised roots with the lawnmower and creating wounds, this is going to have a negative impact on the trees, too. You would be better off to put three inches of mulch down in a wide area around the tree and then brush it off the exposed roots so they do not stay damp. Then you don't need to mow there and roots are protected.

For both blue and white spruce, a huge problem in Michigan and surrounding states has been Rhizosphaera needlecast that causes the trees to loose their needles. If the trees look good, appreciate them while you can.