Whether it’s a hardwood or softwood, all trees have roots. Roots are designed to collect nutrients and water from the surrounding soil while also stabilizing trees.
As a result, most trees have a subterranean root system that grows underground. There are times, however, when a tree’s roots may grow above ground.
Why Roots Grow Above Ground
A tree’s roots can grow above ground for several reasons.
Uneven terrain with a steep incline, for instance, may result in above-ground roots. If a tree is located on a steep incline, its roots may grow outwards rather than downwards.
Older trees are also more likely to grow above-ground roots than younger counterparts. As a tree ages, its feeder roots will dig into the soil, potentially pushing up its other roots.
This typically isn’t a concern with young trees. Once a tree reaches maturity, though, its old roots must push up and through the soil.
Cover the Above-Ground Roots
If you discover a tree with above-ground roots in your landscape, you should consider covering them.
Exposed roots aren’t just an eyesore; they can prove hazardous. You or a family member, for example, could trip and fall while walking in your landscape, or you could accidentally strike the above-ground roots with your lawnmower.
Regardless, a simple and effective way to prevent roots from growing above ground is to cover them.
You can cover the above-ground roots with either soil or mulch.
Of those two options, mulch is recommended because of its high level of nutrients. Mulch contains a plethora of beneficial nutrients that trees need to grow.
Using mulch, you can cover the above-ground roots in your landscape while replenishing your trees with vital nutrients in the process.
Trim the Above-Ground Roots
Alternatively, you can trim the above-ground roots.
Some people assume that trimming a tree’s roots will kill it. Assuming you don’t overdo it, though, you can safely trim above-ground roots without fear of it killing or otherwise harming the tree.
When pruning above-ground roots, follow the rule of three.
What is the rule of three exactly? Basically, it states that a tree’s roots should consume at least three times the tree’s diameter.
If a tree’s diameter is 5 feet, you shouldn’t prune its above-ground roots more than 15 feet away.
For above-ground roots that extend farther than three times the tree’s diameter, you may want to simply cover them with soil or mulch.
The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.
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