Removing Tree Roots Safely

Asked June 29, 2020, 12:39 PM EDT

Hello. I have recently removed grass, weeds, and small trees from around the base of trees (beech, japanese maples, oak) in my front yard. The rest of my plan is 1. to put down about 1 inch of topsoil to replace soil removed in the cleaning process 2. put down 1 of mulch. NO volcanoes. In the Spring I am considering replacing the mulch with Monkey Grass. Some of the roots are girdled. Another looks like a bridge. It comes out of the soil and arching almost an inch above the soil before stretching back into the ground. I do have a couple that are girdling. The others I am just not sure.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We recommend that you leave the roots alone, except for the one skinny one coming out of the base of the tree in the second (middle) photo.

Beech don't like to be messed with. Only replace as much soil as was removed. Mulching is great. Mulch should not touch the base of the trunk--keep it back a few inches. And keep 3" or less. Let is decompose and feed the tree.

The soil close to these trunks is going to be very dry, with lots of competition from the tree roots for nutrients and moisture. Growing anything will be difficult and will probably be spotty, not lush and full. We wouldn't recommend anything around the beech. You'll have to water the others religiously for at least 2 years to supplement rainfall. A simple circle of mulch may be better.

Ellen