Ask a Question forum: Sycamore question

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Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
May 15, 2014 1:10 PM CST
I have a huge sycamore off the patio. Some of the roots are growing above ground. If I spray paint them....the better to see them when I mow....will it hurt the tree??
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
May 15, 2014 2:11 PM CST
Yes it will hurt the tree. Surface roots aka Lateral Roots not only help to anchor the tree they are major suppliers of oxygen, water and nutrients and Sinker Roots, the ones that grow down come from Lateral Roots. If you spray paint them you will cut off their oxygen supply - literally suffocating the tree .. that's why it's not a good idea to dump soil on them to cover them.



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[Last edited by Xeramtheum - May 15, 2014 2:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Plays in the sandbox Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Gulf Coast Tip Photographer The WITWIT Badge
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds Plumerias Hummingbirder Dog Lover
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gingin
May 17, 2014 2:44 PM CST
OK...thank you so much I tip my hat to you.
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
May 17, 2014 4:04 PM CST
If these are large roots, they are probably more for anchoring the tree; little roots do the work of feeding the tree, so I think you could paint them or even shave them off with minimal inconvenience to such a large tree.
Porkpal
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Plays in the sandbox Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Gulf Coast Tip Photographer The WITWIT Badge
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gingin
May 17, 2014 4:11 PM CST
They are big and would put a hurtin' on the blades if I ran over them.
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
May 17, 2014 4:22 PM CST
Don't do it Ginger

http://www.treeboss.net/surface_roots.htm

http://forestry.about.com/od/treeandforestcare/a/yard_tree_r...

http://gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/1294/can-i-cut-...

http://www.lawn-care-academy.com/tree-roots.html
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 17, 2014 5:59 PM CST
I agree with @Xeramtheum - the roots serve a purpose and are important.

Would it be possible to carefully plant some kind of ground cover that can co-exist with the trees surface roots and eliminate the need to mow anywhere near the tree?
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
May 17, 2014 9:15 PM CST
Xeramtheum said:Yes it will hurt the tree. Surface roots aka Lateral Roots not only help to anchor the tree they are major suppliers of oxygen, water and nutrients and Sinker Roots, the ones that grow down come from Lateral Roots. If you spray paint them you will cut off their oxygen supply - literally suffocating the tree .. that's why it's not a good idea to dump soil on them to cover them.


Indeed the premise is true, but its not analogous to dumping soil over the roots. Burying roots deeper in soil aids in suffocation of the entire root system. Painting the large roots above the soil line only (and only part of the upper surface of them) is quite miniscule in the total root surface interface. I don't imagine that you (Ginger) intend to actually coat the large roots with an opaque layer of paint anyway, rather, just spray enough paint to make them more visible. While I question the aesthetics of the endeavor, I believe that to be a subjective matter, but don't think it will have any more impact than white washing a tree trunk to prevent frost cracking in winter, or spraying pruning paint over tree wounds. .......adverse effects are minimal (if they exist at all).

One might also look at the big picture: Which is worse...
---- Spray painting roots, or mechanically wounding roots because you didn't see them.....?


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