Soil over tree roots

Asked May 10, 2018, 7:05 AM EDT

Hi! There’s an American Beech in our backyard. Over the years the roots have become more and more exposed. Could I put soil and/or playground chips over the roots without harming the tree? Thank you,

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

Yes, you can put soil between the roots. Do not put too much soil over the roots. Beeches can be sensitive. You may want to fill in between the roots this year, and add an inch or two next year. Roots need oxygen and adjust to their situation when they grow, so if they are used to a shallow situation, they won't tolerate being buried too deeply.


Thank you so much for responding. Would a layer of playground chips be harmful?

That would depend upon how deep it is. The effect on the tree is similar to applying soil (and the mulch will eventually decompose to what is essentially soil). About 3-4" of mulch should be okay, since it will decompose to much less.