Planting sod over tree roots?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by FerrisDiesel, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. FerrisDiesel

    FerrisDiesel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 441

    I have a customer who I did a sod job for a couple weeks ago, about 550 sq ft around her newly installed above ground pool. She was so excited when we got done she asked me to sod the remaining 1500 sq ft in the yard. There is a tree in the area she wants me to re-sod that has exposed roots sticking up out of the ground roughly 2-3 inches.
    My question is, will I be alright to topdress the top of these roots with 3 inches of loom and then sod over it? Or will the sod not take?.......or later on down the road will it end up dying?
     
  2. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    No and Yes. There is a reason sod/turf doesn't grow there now. Topdressing & sod on top of these roots is potentially detrimental to the long term health of the tree.
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    How far are the exposed root from the base of the tree? how far into the dripline are we talking?? and what kind of tree is it???
    leave the area around the crown absolutely alone... exposed roots can also mean excessive irrigation... we see that a lot...
     
  4. FerrisDiesel

    FerrisDiesel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 441

    The roots extend out 20-30 feet from the tree........there are about 7-8 roots exposed. There is no sprinkler system in the back yard, and they do not water the back yard at all. It's a very shady back yard and the grass grows well for no sprinkler or fertilizer. There is also alot of grass growing in between and up to the trunk of the tree. I believe it is a maple tree, I will have to double check.

    I don't want to destroy any of the roots, the homeowners want to keep the tree because it shades the back of the house. I was thinking that instead of doing sod over it, we did a half moon bed around it instead
     
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,938

    Good suggestions above. Tree roots need air--particularly in the area near the trunk. Dense clay soil would not be good because air cannot penetrate easily nor can carbon dioxide waste dissipate. Sandy soil with high organic matter would probably be OK, if not too thick. It might be wise to construct a tree ring and add shredded bark or mulch. Not recommended, but you can use a saw or ax to remove any particularly offending root.--just make sure the tree doesn't fall over.

    And remember, sod does not do well in shade--it seldom successfully adapts from growing in full sun to surviving in the shade. If the turf is thin--chances are it is due to shade. Plant a shade-loving ground cover. Don't guarantee sod in shade, ever.
     
  6. FerrisDiesel

    FerrisDiesel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 441

    Thanks Riggle, I told her if we planted it I would not be able to guarantee it. The tree is very well established, and I see no obvious signs of decay or disease, so I'm not worried about it falling over. However, I don't want to be responsible for cutting the roots and then have the tree die. I think I will just make the half moon bed and then do bark mulch around it. That should get me far enough away from the tree where I can topdress and sod and not have to worry about too many roots. I will recommend to the homeowner trimming the tree to let a little more sunlight in for the sod.
     

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