Large exposed ash tree root

Asked August 3, 2020, 9:37 AM EDT

What is the best solution for a large exposed tree root? Was thinking of covering large area around tree with mulch. In order to do that I think the grass needs to be killed. What is the best way to kill grass?

Dakota County Minnesota

3 Responses

The best route on this is to leave the root alone. Tree roots grow where they're getting the best "inputs": water, nutrients, etc. Burying the root limit the tree's ability to get those things. Your best bet would be to plant a ground cover that doesn't need to be mowed (so you don't have to mow over the root).

Here's an article on tree roots that might provide some insight:

Thank you. In order to plant a ground cover or cover area with mulch, does the grass have to be removed?
I think the mulch would work for me - how deep should the mulch be?

The SAFEST way to remove the grass is to hand pull it (which is a drag).

I do think there are herbicides that are safe to use under trees--you'd want to read labels carefully to make sure that's what you're buying and you'll want use it EXACTLY according to the label. Obviously, not quite the same but LOTS of people have had lilacs damaged this year because of lawn treatments done on hot humid days. I can't stress following the label on the product you choose enough.

When you put down mulch, you'll want to keep it away from the trunk of the tree by a few inches and don't cover any exposed roots--as I mentioned originally, the root has come to the surface for a reason.

If you want to think about ground cover, there are come pretty good shade options with cool leaves and flowers.