Surfacing roots under Norway Maples!!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Marcos, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    I've been in the landscape / nursery field for many years, but I have never found a really good solution to the problem of surfacing roots occuring under established hard maples, specifically Norway maples. And I love well pruned, well established Norway maples!
    I've tried everything through the years, including carefully digging away the soil and pruning them out, and then topdressing the area. But they always seem to come back a year or two later.....

    Is there an answer, or is this just the nature of the beast?
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    The nature of the beast.
  3. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    I enlisted a new customer this week that had found their own solution to their Norway maple tree root problem.
    [I plan on adopting their strategy. At least (at first) on some Norways in some less conspicuous locations.]

    They were a bit aggressive about their methods...........but their strategy paid off!

    He said he did this about 4 years ago:
    All they did was carefully pull away the soil from the roots at a time when the soil was fairly moist, in the mid to late fall (he thought). Then the guy took a VERY sharp concrete scraper and took off a considerable amount of the 'top halves' off the lateral surfacing roots surrounding the trunk, all the way out as far as he could find them. Then they replaced the soil and seeded.

    This week's observation:
    The roots calloused over very well at the soil line, no question. And apparently this callousing action helped to slow or stop the pattern of additional roots surfacing and / or being created there.
  4. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Posts: 4,347

    mulch over them so u cant see them?
  5. Travel'n Trees

    Travel'n Trees LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 631

    Water the tree more it is looking for water the canopy doesn't allow the tree to get much water from the rain.
  6. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    No, In this instance at this new customer's, and in the one I'm confronted with at my own place, the soil was (and is to be) replaced after the roots were 'scalped', and the area was re-seeded.
    Mulching under the tree doesn't make sense in either circumstance.
    But I can see where in other situations where it may...but good luck planting ground cover or anything in the root-riddled ground!

    Extra water?
    Yeah, I can see that too.
    It's tough to keep grass growing in the deep shade as well.
  7. chris638

    chris638 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    Norway Maples have a self girdling root system. That is why they are a favorite to plant in sidewalk cut outs and in between the sidewalk and curb. The reason you see a lot of surface roots from Norway and Sugar Maples is because there canopies become so dense that sunlight cannot penetrate it, therefore causing the grass to become extremely thin under the tree. Without this erosion control over top of the root system, the dirt continues to wash away exposing the roots.

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