Exposed tree roots are not only an eyesore; they are safety hazards. Kids can trip on them while running around, and they can also cause problems for gardeners and mowers. What can you do?
Experts in lawn treatments in Manassas, VA, share some tips on what you should and should not do when it comes to these unsightly tree parts. But first, an explanation on what’s causing this situation.
Why are the roots exposed
Contrary to popular belief, the overflow is not an indication that the tree is trying to escape. Trees breathe and grow, but they cannot move. Unlike other living organisms that can move, trees need to be dug up using machines to relocate them.
Trees require a lot of water to grow, amounting to tens of gallons a day, depending on the weather. Mature oak trees, for instance, can take in as much as 100 gallons of water each day during the summer. With such a powerful vacuum drawing in water, the soil around the tree dries up and recedes.
What not to do
Covering the roots with topsoil
Once people understand why the situation occurs, the typical reaction is to add layers of soil on top. There are several potential issues with this idea.
For one, if you use the wrong type of soil or add too much, you might accidentally kill your tree in the process. Some soils don’t hold water well. In the case of mature oak trees, the added soil might prevent the flora from getting the right amount of water to survive and thrive.
There is also the possibility that the roots will grow through the soil. Unless if you have the time and resources to add soil regularly, it is not a cost-effective or practical solution.
Planting underneath the tree
Another popular idea for homeowners with a garden is to surround the area with flowers or grass. Much like the first option, this can go horribly wrong if you don’t pick and use the right type of flora.
Observe the condition of the plants directly underneath the canopy. In most cases, you will notice that there are none. It’s because the thick leaves prevent any plant life from receiving enough sunlight.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, trees often require a lot of water. The thick, deep roots can take in all of the water, not leaving any for other plants to survive.
If you do want plants growing underneath the tree, you will need to look for species that can flourish with minimal sunlight and water. The practice may require a lot more effort in finding the right type of foliage for the situation and making sure they survive.
Pouring concrete over the roots
What if you cover the roots with concrete, will that work? Using concrete is not recommended for several reasons.
For one, the concrete prevents the tree from getting any moisture and oxygen. By pouring concrete, you could accidentally kill the plant.
On the other hand, the tree could also break through the concrete. When this happens, you will end up with an area filled with jagged pieces of concrete, which is even more unsightly and messy. Plus, this makes the space more unsafe for kids to play.
What you can do instead
Add mulch or gravel
Instead of trying to change the tree, adapt to it. One of the easiest ways of dealing with the situation is to add mulch on top of the roots.
Mulch does several things. As a more natural cover, it keeps the area looking clean and protects the roots in the process. Plus, the moisture from the mulch helps hydrate the roots as well.
An alternative is to use gravel to add some interest, although there are some issues to using this material. Compared to mulch, stone retains heat, which can make the ground underneath it warmer, especially during the summer.
Gravel and stones can also inadvertently compact the soil. At some point, you may need to replace or add another layer of gravel to keep it level with the tree roots.
Install a boardwalk
If you can’t remove the roots, why not install a pathway above it instead? In parks and larger gardens, they install boardwalks above the roots to allow people to walk around without tripping over or damaging the tree.
Planks of wood are installed on top of the exposed while the timbers for the pathway itself are placed on top of that. Doing it this way eases some of the pressure off of the roots while the boardwalk is being used. Look for an experienced construction or contracting company for the best results.
According to professionals in lawn care from Manassas, VA, there are many ways to deal with the exposed roots without risking damage to the tree. The tips above are a few of them. If in doubt, consult with a professional landscaper to know your options in dealing with the tree and its roots in your yard.
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