The Q&A Archives: Tree Roots

Question: I have old trees with roots that are above the ground and growing toward the house. I cannot grow grass around them. I want to plant evergreen ground cover in this area to hide the the dirt and the roots since this area is in the front of my home. What do you suggest? Also should I be concern about the roots growing toward my house? What should I do about this?

Answer: You're wise in deciding to use a ground cover plant rather than try to grow grass beneath your tree. Some suggested plants include Euonymus fortunei 'Colorata' (Purpleleaf Wintercreeper Euonymus), Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff), Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese Spurge), Vinca minor (Periwinkle) or woodland natives such as ferns, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and trilliums may also be used in areas where turf will not grow or is not desired. As for the roots getting too close to your home, you might want to dig down and sever any that appear to be threatening.

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