Five Strategies For Exposed Tree Roots

Exposed roots beneath a tree aren't very attractive, plus they can pose a hazard when walking or mowing. Further, exposed roots can weaken a tree or lead to disease issues. The following strategies can help solve the problem.

1. Skip Mowing

Don't try to mow over the roots. Not only will the roots damage and dull your lawnmower blade, but the mower will also cut into the roots. This opens the tree up to the possibility of disease or pest infestation. If you have eroding soil and exposed roots, chances are there is not sufficient turf remaining for a lawnmower, anyway.

2. Remove the Turf

If there is sufficient turf remaining that removal is necessary, turn to a weed string trimmer instead of the mower. Carefully use the trimmer to cut the grass down to bare soil. If there are weeds, pull them up by the roots to minimize the chances of them growing back. Don't remove the remaining turf until you are ready to address the soil loss and root exposure, though, since more soil will erode away once the remaining turf is gone.

3. Add Mulch

Don't use topsoil to cover exposed roots. Weeds will root in the topsoil if it doesn't simply wash or blow away again. Instead, use a heavier wood chip or bark mulch. Mulch doesn't blow or wash away as easily as soil. Even better, it actually suppresses weed growth if you apply a layer at least a few inches thick. You will need to reapply the mulch annually, as it will decompose and add nutrients to the soil.

4. Adjust Watering

You can further prevent erosion by adjusting how you water. Overhead sprinklers shouldn't spray the trunk of the tree. If they do, water will flow down the trunk and wash the soil and possibly even the mulch away from the tree. It's better to use drip irrigation or hand watering near trees so that you won't have the erosion issues that lead to soil loss and exposed roots.

5. Reroute Traffic

Don't spend a lot of time walking beneath a tree with exposed roots, since this will simply lead to more exposure and possible damage to the roots. Plus, exposed roots can pose a tripping hazard. If necessary, install border edging around the tree before covering the roots with mulch. The raised edging helps discourage walking in the area and also contains the mulch so it doesn't erode away from the tree.

Contact a tree care service for more help with exposed tree roots.