Healthy trees spread their roots around the trunk, and that is good news for them. I believe that visible roots can help us to know if the tree is healthy, plus I find them decorative. Unfortunately, you may think the opposite if it is about your beautiful, carefully nurtured lawn.
However, I know many people who treat roots spread around their lawn as a huge, unsightly problem and consider them dangerous especially for children playing in the yard. On the other hand, it is the fact that those roots can destroy other things in your yard by growing uncontrolled.
Practical Ways to Solve the Issue with Visible Roots
When visible tree roots start to make problems, you should find a way to eliminate them considering all the pros and cons of taking such an extreme action. Sometimes your tree can respond well to tearing its roots out, but most of them will probably have various problems after that treatment.
If you don’t want to hire an expert with special tools to do the job professionally, you can do it by yourself. However, it would be nice to seriously approach the task and be aware that just cutting off the roots is not good enough.
I will give you some tips on how to solve this unpleasant problem and ways of preventing the tree roots from growing around without any control.
1. Keep in mind the age and stability of trees
Once you decide to remove visible roots from your garden, you should know that it is just the beginning of the job since trees, especially older ones, without necessary root support have a tendency to become unstable over time.
Even young trees will need time to adjust, and you need to support them for a while. That means that you should think in advance about the tree and consider its instability and general health in the future after eliminating the roots.
Unfortunately, be aware that your tree may experience severe consequences of removing its parts, especially because you are not a professional who has adequate tools, knowledge, and techniques for this job.
Therefore, check your tree regularly after removing the roots, with particular attention to its leaves as an indicator which will react first on any possible issue. Pay attention to the trunk to notice any infestations or breakages that may appear as a result of the roots cut.
2. Don’t prevent your tree from accessing nutrients
The roots can be an obstacle to you, but for your tree, they are the source of all necessary nutrition. When you cut them off, your tree may not get all water and nutrition it needs. On the other hand, if your tree is really big, it will use its roots to take all the water for itself instead to ‘share’ it with your lawn.
In that case, you should do something about the issue and cut off excess parts a little bit. The key is in the balance and the right calculation. Do the job on the way to get a useful result for you and your lawn and a proper solution for the tree.
3. Check for sprouts
Don’t mix sprouts with tree roots and eliminate them as soon as possible to prevent further growth. When you spot a few upright stems which obviously come from the roots, you need to remove them. Sometimes even lawn edger can help to solve that issue.
They are just small and weak offshoots, and you can be sure that those ‘trees’ won’t grow and develop into big and healthy plants. If you let them spread, you will eventually face huge, useless roots come out of the ground and make your yard ugly and dangerous.
Plus, they can jeopardize your healthy tree since they will compete with the existing root system for nutrients. The result will be the appearance of roots out of the ground which will become disabled to use nourishment from the soil.
Just keep in mind that inadequate and excessive treatment of suckers growing from the root system with herbicides can be harmful to the tree itself.
How to Kill Tree Roots
If it is possible, always choose to plant trees with non-aggressive roots. Otherwise, the problem with big, visible ones will come up at some point. Then you need to deal with it to protect your lawn. Let’s see how to do that.
1. Consider alternate methods first
Yes, there are some natural methods which can’t act immediately as some harsh chemicals. However, I highly recommend them since they won’t harm your trees and grass. Don’t forget to mow the part of the lawn around the tree with the cordless weed eater before starting the procedure.
For example, ‘rock salt’ is an excellent option of how to stop tree roots from sprouting in the lawn. It will kill the roots gradually by dehydrating them. Just keep your pets away after spreading this salt to avoid any possible hazard. Perhaps you should choose to put a rock salt solution on the roots while your pets are inside for hours.
2. Cut invasive roots in the ground
Cutting less problematic roots will reduce the risk of damaging to surrounding plants including grass. Dig out as much soil as possible under and around the roots and cut them with the saw. Always keep in mind that cutting more significant roots may lead to the timber tilted and fell at the end.
To prevent that, multiply the tree’s diameter by eight. Given result represents the minimum distance from the trunk of your tree where you can cut a particular root without risk of severe damage. Also, avoid cutting roots on more than one side of the tree.
In general, ‘killing’ roots of the tree in your yard is not an easy job except if you decide to apply herbicides. In such a case, you should know that adding these harmful chemicals is comfortable, but they won’t only damage the root you want to get rid of. They will also harm the roots of other trees of the same species in the surrounding area.
The risk is even higher if you have trees which are connected in so-called ‘clonal colonies‘ by the roots underground. Think about it, assess the risk, and act in such a way as to minimize damage to your environment.