Tree surface root problems

Asked October 12, 2020, 5:37 PM EDT

What causes tree surface roots? What can be done to prevent them? How can existing large surface roots be dealt with without endangering the associated tree? Any other information that would be helpful in this matter. Thank you.

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response

Hello,
Different tree species have more or less extensive surface roots, but all trees have the majority of their root systems in the top 12 inches of soil. The best thing you can do is to put a few inches of mulch over the area around the tree, taking care not to pile the mulch against the trunk. This helps prevent damage from lawn equipment and helps the soil retain moisture. Ground covers could be carefully planted between the roots, making sure to keep root disturbance to a minimum. Removal of any roots is not recommended. Here is an article that discusses some more options for surface roots: http://rocklandcce.org/resources/surfacing-tree-roots