The Q&A Archives: what to do with tree roots?

Question: Bought a great old bungalow. The way to the front door is grass & muddy at times. Would like to put in a walkway, but have much root exposure (Maple) that makes the walkway very uneven. Am I able to cut into the roots, removing bigger pieces to add edging and stone pebbles without hurting the trees' growth? J Burg East TN

Answer: I would not cut the roots - they are helping the tree find moisture and nutrients and cutting them will stop the flow and potentially cause them to decline. Have you considered raising the walkway above the roots? I think I would build a wooden pathway, much like one going over a stream. Even if you only have the bridge in part of your walkway, it will lend interest and still save the tree roots from damage. Just a thought!

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