The Q&A Archives: sweetgum tree

Question: hello, I gave a lot of gumball trees in my back yard. 2 are not as big (an no roots) and 3 of them are very tall. one in the middle of the lawn with big roots. the other two are near the fense. my question is, other than cut them down, is there a way to take care of them? meaning, can I put playground mulch on the roots (but not anywhere near the tree)? Can I add topsoil to add some grass?
again, this in nowhere near the base of the tree? also, with this tree come into contact with the fense? thank you. (or should i just save the trouble and cut them all down?)

Answer: Liquidambar is a very large tree when it matures, say fifty feet wide and seventy feet tall, so first make sure you have space for one or more of these to grow over the coming years. They should also be located in desirable spots in terms of your overall landscape design. Next, be aware that grass typically will not grow well in dense shade, so you may want to plan for that. You could mulch the area or use a shade tolerant groundcover there. Surface roots are a natural occurrence as the tree ages. You should not try to cover them with soil as this can damage the tree. Whether or not these are worth saving is to some extent a personal choice. You might also consult on site with a professionally trained and certified arborist with experience in ornamental trees to evaluate their condition and future potential. I hope this helps.

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