Tree roots are a common issue in yards. To avoid them, we always recommend planting your trees with their root balls above ground level. But if you have tree roots that have already grown into your lawn, it is an entirely different story.
Many times, the first thing that hits your mind is either removing the tree or covering the exposed parts with topsoil. However, none of these practices are the solutions for exposed tree roots.
In this article, we discuss how to cover tree roots in lawns the right way. Remember, you don’t want to harm your tree or damage your lawn. Keep reading.
- How to Cover Exposed Tree Roots in Lawn
- How to Fix Lawn with Tree Roots
- 1. Incorporating the Tree Roots into Your Landscape
- 2. Using Plants
- 2. Moving Trees to a Different Location
- How to Landscape Around a Tree with Exposed Roots
- 1. Using mulch
- 2. Using Plants
- 3. Using Stones
- Covering Tree Roots with Rocks
- Covering Tree Roots with Gravel
- What to do with Tree Roots above Ground
- How to Get Rid of Tree Roots in Lawn
- How to Get Rid of Exposed Tree Roots (FAQs)
- Will Rocks around a Tree Kill it?
- Can you put landscape fabric over tree roots?
- Can you put topsoil over tree roots?
- Will cutting above-ground tree roots kill the tree?
How to Cover Exposed Tree Roots in Lawn
Now that you know it is not advisable to cover the exposed roots with more soil, how do you solve it?
How about mulching over the exposed roots? Essentially, this is the easiest way to solve your problem. Just put mulch over them, and you are done! But there is a catch here. The most common mulch materials are organic—things like wood chips and bark nuggets.
These will decompose over time and will wind up being absorbed into your soil. If this happens, the tree roots will then become exposed again. Unfortunately, there is no other way around this. Therefore the solution to this would be to keep mulching every time the roots grow out
Mulching is essential because it helps to moderate the soil temperature and moisture levels as well. That way, your tree roots will not dry out or become overly moist. It is also crucial because mulch will help to suppress weeds from growing in the exposed root zone.
How to Fix Lawn with Tree Roots
No doubt having a tree in the middle of your lawn will cause some degree of inconvenience. But, you don’t have to worry as there are ways to deal with this problem efficiently and easily.
1. Incorporating the Tree Roots into Your Landscape
One feasible thing without needing to spend too much money is just incorporating the roots into the landscape. Try and dig around them so that when they grow out, you will control them. Keep mulching so that weeds will not grow in that area. Treat them as you treat the rest of your yard for now.
The problem with this idea is that the roots will continue to grow out, and they might cause damage to things like your deck or, even worse, to a building foundation later on.
If you are observant, it should not be surprising if you need to call a professional at some point in time. Either way, this is a brilliant idea if you are only concerned about aesthetics
2. Using Plants
If you are not the type that wants to spend a lot of money on basically anything, there is another option for you. Why not use plants to cover it up?
Plants and shrubs can take over large sections of the ground, making them look like natural lawns. When planted strategically, they are capable of covering vast parts of roots that are exposed.
2. Moving Trees to a Different Location
If the tree is not posing any problem and there is no way you can incorporate it into your landscape, it might be time to relocate it from your lawn. Although this option will cost a lot of money, it may be the best solution in the long run.
Contact your local tree service and get some advice. If you go this route, make sure that they have professional equipment to deal with big trees. It will be costly but well worth it in the end, and you won’t regret it one bit.
How to Landscape Around a Tree with Exposed Roots
It is essential to know how to effectively landscape around exposed tree roots without sacrificing the aesthetic or the structural integrity of your landscaping plan and design.
There are three ways you can go about this
- Using plants
- Using stones
- Using mulch
1. Using mulch
Generally, mulch in landscaping is to control weeds, moderate temperature, and moisture levels and provide oxygen supply and water drainage. However, you can also use a mulch to disguise exposed tree roots. You will need to put 2–3 inches of organic mulch around the entire root zone to achieve this. This is not much, and it will be helpful in more ways than one.
First, it will help to suppress weed growth in the exposed root zone, and second, it will ensure that oxygen supply, water drainage, and moderate temperature and moisture levels to the tree roots
2. Using Plants
Using plants is an ingenious way to camouflage exposed roots. You can plant some ground covers around the root zone to grow over it and thus masking the exposed tree roots.
You can plant them in various heights to grow at different rates and eventually cover the entire root zone. Plants such as sedums, vinca, Marigold, and liriope are some of the very effective ground covers for this purpose.
3. Using Stones
Another way to disguise exposed tree roots is by using stones. When it comes to landscaping, stones are all-purpose materials used for many purposes, such as pathways, water drainage, dynamic sand beds, and walls.
You can use stone pavers to camouflage the exposed root zone of the tree by installing them around the root zone.
Covering Tree Roots with Rocks
Covering tree roots with rocks may sound like a brilliant idea, but it is not the best option in most cases. This is because rocks are bulky, and they can damage easily. It will be a lot of work to install the rocks on the exposed tree root zone, not forgetting that you will have to make sure that they do not topple over or fall off when conditions get rockier.
In a more scientific aspect, rocks do not have any real value that will help mitigate the damage of exposed tree roots. Look at it this way, most trees thrive in slightly acidic soils, but rocks have an alkaline base; thus, they are likely to hamper the growth of your tree.
In summer, rocks will absorb heat, which is not suitable for most trees. Exposure to such heat can cause damage to the root system.
Covering Tree Roots with Gravel
You can effectively use gravel to disguise exposed tree roots in your landscaping. Just like mulch, gravel is often used as a decorative material in landscaping to add color and texture to the landscape. The first thing you should have is some good quality gravel.
The gravel will protect the root zone of the tree from environmental extremes. It has a cooling effect on your tree, and it will ensure safe drainage of water. However, there are some downsides to this course of action.
The gravel is a bit heavy and may lead to root damage if not properly placed. During the summer months, it will absorb heat and may lead to root damage.
What to do with Tree Roots above Ground
In most cases, tree roots exposed above ground will not cause a lot of harm to the tree, but they can be unsightly, significantly if you are growing ornamental plants in your garden. If this happens, you can cover the exposed roots with good-quality mulch.
This will ensure the protection of the root zone and will make your tree look better as well. However, if you suspect that some of the more extensive roots are broken due to improper tree trimming or removal, it is much better to leave them exposed. It may take a while for the roots to heal and grow into healthy, strong tree roots.
How to Get Rid of Tree Roots in Lawn
Getting rid of exposed tree roots entirely may be impossible. It all comes down to responsibly managing your trees so that they do not interfere with your lawn. In some cases, the roots are exposed or damaged due to improper pruning.
You can use the correct landscaping approach to get rid of tree roots in your lawn. You first need to assess the situation and find out whether you will remove all or some of the roots in question. But remember that eliminating tree roots may interfere with the growth of your tree and may affect any future landscaping plans.
Relocating the tree may be an option if the exposed roots cause too much damage to your lawn. This way, you will save both your lawn and the tree. However, relocating the tree may be a bit complicated, and it is not always advisable.
Specific trees require constant care and attention to thrive. It may take some time for your tree to become strong and healthy again after being moved from one place to another
How to Get Rid of Exposed Tree Roots (FAQs)
Will Rocks around a Tree Kill it?
Rocks around a tree will not necessarily cause its death, but the improper and random placement of rocks around the root zone can hamper the growth and development of your tree. If you want to use rocks in your landscaping effectively, you must follow the recommended landscape design tips for exposed tree roots.
There are a lot of factors that determine if a tree will grow well. For example, using rocks around a tree will be effective only when you follow the recommended spacing of 25 feet between different trees. You should also consider the weight and size of your landscape stone for this purpose.
Can you put landscape fabric over tree roots?
It is not recommended that you apply landscape fabric over tree roots, as this will affect your tree’s health.
Can you put topsoil over tree roots?
Topsoil should not be applied directly over the tree roots as this will affect drainage and stunt your tree’s growth.
Will cutting above-ground tree roots kill the tree?
You should never cut above-ground tree roots as this will affect the growth and stability of the tree
You may be able to disguise exposed tree roots in your landscaping by using mulch, but there are some downsides. If you want the best results for your landscape and don’t mind the extra work, it’s better to remove the tree altogether.
Your other options are gravel, which has potential risks (heat absorption during the summer months), mulch, or using natural plants such as Marigold around the tree.