Thursday, July 26, 2012

tree roots exposed

A common question I get asked is about a tree's roots and how to deal with them when they pop up through the grass.  The roots under a large tree can grow up and out of the grass. When this happens you need to take special care around the roots so that you won't nick them by the lawn mower, or trip over them.  These roots are often times unattractive as well.  A common solution that most homeowners make is covering the roots with a layer of soil, but is this the best choice?

No it is not.  

A common misconception is that trees put down deep tap roots. Although trees generally put down a few deep roots, most roots grow laterally close to the surface in the top 12-18” of soil. Lawn mowing equipment wounds surface roots and makes a tree more susceptible to disease or insect problems. An easy solution to this problem is to create a turf-free zone under large trees to protect their roots from damage. Mulched areas beneath trees also reduce competition with turf grass for water and nutrients. The zone should begin at the trunk, extending outward to the edge of the tree canopy, and can be expanded as young trees grow.

A 2-3” layer of mulch over the zone is beneficial as it conserves soil and moisture, moderates soil temperature, suppresses weeds, and aids in root formation. Be sure that mulch does not come into contact with the tree’s trunk. If plants are desired, choose groundcovers such as Barrenwort (Epimedium), Pachysandra, or Sweet Woodruff (Gallium) as the roots of groundcover plants are less competitive than those of turf grass.

For those of you wanting to use mulch, make sure you check out the mulch offered at Organic Solutions, Inc.  With several varieties of organic mulch offered in different colors, and unbeatable prices, Organic Solutions, Inc. is clearly the best choice for mulch in the Chicagoland area.  

You can find out more about Organic Solutions at or call 847-366-8869.

Thanks for reading,

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