The Q&A Archives: above ground tree roots

Question: I have a very large maple in my back yard and the roots have surfaced. Is there any way to cover them with dirt or will they continue to surface. It makes it difficult to mow

Answer: Maple trees are notorious for growing surface roots. If you try to cover them they will resurface, so that is not an effective solution. (Covering them can also stress the tree, it is by nature a surface rooting tree.) It is harmful to the tree to scalp the roots with the mower -- it's hard on your mower, too. Since it is already difficult to mow, you may want to consider establishing a groundcover planting beneath the tree rather than growing lawn grass. As the tree matures, it will be increasingly difficult for grass to thrive under it due to the shade, the roots, and the resulting root competition for moisture and nutrients.

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