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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by yardsmith, Mar 26, 2000.

  1. yardsmith

    yardsmith LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 628

    went to a bid Sat. for a lady who had tree roots coming above ground level & ruining the lawn (looked like veins popping out) & I gave her suggestions of 1)enlarge planter box to cover the rest of the roots (would end up taking up half the yard), 2) plant ground ivy or other groundcover in that area, or 3) put more topsoil on it to cover the roots-about 3&quot; depth needed, then reseed. <br>Anyone have any other remedies?<p>----------<br>Smitty ô¿ô<br>
  2. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    the topsoil method dosnt work. ive tried it several times. in a matter of months the roots resurface
  3. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Sounds like a maple to me. And, theres not much to do. Grass will have a hard time under there with that dense shade, and even though I know it should work, I never really have seen groundcovers do all that well either. Its one of those &quot;just live with it trees&quot;. <p>Covering the roots with top is not necesarrily a good thing as it may choke the tree. I know a guy who does this.<p>He first uses wood chips, basically what comes directly out of a chipper, and puts them at about 2 inches deep. He then covers those with a inch of higher grade mulch. He said the woods chips supposely give the roots more breathing space than the mulch does. I don't know about that, but its just an idea and if you tell it to a customer, it sounds like you know what you are doing. In a lot of cases, that is all that matters.
  4. DMC300

    DMC300 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 325

  5. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Surface rooting is usually caused by suffocation of rootzone. Roots of all except a few water plants must take in air through root; plants do have a respiration process. If there is a condition that inhibits this, like overirrigation(the most common) or heavy soils, roots will grow to surface to get air. You will also find surface rooting on hills sometimes from erosion.<p>Any of the suggestions above would be useless if overwatering is the root cause of the problem, because the roots will come back up. Also must consider that roots grow in diameter over time. If you cover the root 1&quot; below new soil level, a much larger diameter root will be pushing up 10 yrs from now.<p>Smitty, the only simple solution might be a different groundcover in this area. But if overwatereing is the problem, that will stress the new plants.<p>Overirrigation is the greatest cause of problems in urban & suburban landscapes, not natural causes. Second largest problem is overfertilization. Then we get to disease & insect problems.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>North central Indiana
  6. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    I agree with a most of what you say grounds, but still think the most critical situation here is what kind of tree is it? <p>I think that along with over watering and over fertilization being problems, that incorrect plant selection has just as much, if not more, to do with a tree's health and performance in the landscape.<p>Some trees, like silver maples, naturally grow roots at the surface. There is nothing you can do about it. You may be able to cosmetically cover it over for a brief time, but all you are doing is just forelonging the problem.<p>Also, it is natural for the roots to be there. To me, if it naturally grow there, then why try to change it. In some cases, the tree may be growing shallow roots for reasons as mentioned above. However, in a lot of cases that is just the type of tree and its characteristics.<p>I think to really begin to solve this problem, the tree needs to be identified. Without that, this is really a wild goose chase.<br>
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Steve is right. I should have preceded previous message with that idea. Don't ever try to solve a plant problem without a positive ID of the plant, and of the problem.<p>Wet site species like silver maple, weeping willow, river birch, cottonwood, and others will easily surface root, because they are adapted to wet soils and have shallow root systems. However, I have seen many of these used in the landscape without surface rooting. I have seen oaks with surface roots in heavy, wet soil (rare). When I talk about surface roots, I'm assuming roots that you would trip on, or cannot easily mow over.<p>It is correct that initial selection and planting is the most critical factor in all aspects of the landscape. Really awful that most landscape design today is with idea of what is highest profit plant, or what has to be pushed out of the inventory. (This statement is not directed at anyone, just my observations in our area.) A successful landscape is basically 99% cultural practices, and the most important cultural practice is to put the right plant in the right place.<p>So smitty, let me add these thoughts:<br>-If there is excess irrigation in this area, educate the client about proper irrigation.<br>-If there are not too many large roots, you can remove one root each year during the winter without major stress on the tree. (Get guidance from an arborist)<br>-If you have a problem with any plant anyplace, remember that sometimes the best cultural practice is to remove the plant and replace it with one that will function better at this site.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>North central Indiana<br>
  8. steven Bousquet

    steven Bousquet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    the tree is not the probelm the lawn is the problem. when is the last time you saw lush green lawns in the woods? I have seen many people try to fix this with soil, leave it alone, put some mulch under the tree. if that doesn't work cut the tree out. your client won't like these options ,buy plants don't really care what we think, they have certain needs regardless of us. Take some courses on tree care and see what i mean. good luck
  9. crabber

    crabber LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    Take a chain saw and cut them level with the ground(As close as you can get). The roots will heal. The tree could be a sycamore. Be careful going over the roots with your mower.
  10. yardsmith

    yardsmith LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 628

    thanks for the info guys- I didn't remember to ID the tree- I will do that tomorrow & post it Tues morn. (I spent my time looking at the ground) :)<br>The tree is a small one about 15-20 ft. tall, like dogwood, with a trunk about 3&quot; around. The roots are shallow, & I don't think it is due to overwatering. The homeowner doesn't like mowing over the roots every time she mows, & it looks bad.<br>She also indicated they want a 'quick fix' cause they plan to sell the house this year. So they don't want to spend big bucks, either.<p>----------<br>Smitty ô¿ô<br>

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