Tree Roots In The Lawn
The root of the problem is….no, roots are the problem! At least in many home lawns across the country, especially where lawns and landscapes include one or more shade trees, tree roots can be a real issue. Maple trees, for example (depending on the species) are often shallow rooted.
When it comes to building and maintaining a thick, heathy lawn, shallow tree roots compete with turf grass for both water and nutrients. As shade trees mature, roots can grow to several inches in diameter and extend above the soil, crowding out desirable grass plants as they expand. And controlling them is not as simple as whacking out the roots with an axe! Cut major roots and you can weaken or even kill the tree!
Burying the roots in topsoil can also smother the roots, leading to plant damage or death.
While many homeowners would rather have shade than grass, having both a nice lawn and shade trees can be a reasonable goal.
Consider using a non-selective herbicide to remove the grass from the tree trunk out to the edge of the dripline of the tree canopy. Rake up the site soil under the tree and do one of two things:
Plant a shade tolerant ivy or other ground cover, or:
Mulch the shaded area under the tree
Replacing water starved, thinned out and dying turf with an attractive landscape bed can be the solution to a frustrating lawn problem…and you can relax, knowing you really did get to the “root of the problem”!
Click here for more details on managing frustrating tree roots in the lawn.
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