The Q&A Archives: roots from tree

Question: Good morning. I have 2 gum ball trees in my back yard with pine trees in the middle. I am planning on starting a fresh (no grass in the area) garden. there are alot of roots (big ones) that have spread through out the area. Can I put a lot of mulch in the center (low ground)? Will this cause the roots to come through again? what actually causes the roots to come up; I only notice them from the gumball trees? other than cutting the trees down, what is my other option? Thank you.

Answer: Some tree roots are more shallow than others so what you're finding is normal for your trees. It's important not to change the soil grade by adding soil or even mulch beneath the trees. Doing so can suffocate the roots which will cause an overall decline in your trees. It's also not a good idea to plant beneath established trees. They will resent competition for moisture and nutrients from other plants and the additional water you'll need to apply can cause additional problems. Since the trees and their roots are already established in the area, the best advice is to build some raised beds for your garden. Keep the raised beds as far away from the trunks and roots as possible and be sure to line them with weed block to keep tree roots from invading the soil. Or, you could garden in plastic containers - either pots or planters. Wish I had better news for you!

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