Should I cover the roots of ash tree? - Knowledgebase Question

Columbus, Oh
Question by gsfrosty
March 18, 2010
The roots of my ash tree have risen above the soil and have girdled the base of its trunk. Should I do something about this? I'd like to construct a raised garden around the tree by adding topsoil. Is this safe to do, or will this suffocate the roots?

Answer from NGA
March 18, 2010


Girdling will eventually kill a tree so you may need to hire a professional to remove some of the roots to alleviate the problem. An arborist will be able to tell by looking at the tree which roots can be safely removed. It's true that too much soil over the roots can suffocate them. However, I've seen lots of trees surrounded by raised planting beds. If you build a raised bed beneath the canopy of the tree, you'll want to keep the soil away from the trunk of the tree and you'll want to make sure that excess water can drain out of the sides, not just the bottom of the bed so build in some little escape routes for excess water. Best wishes with your project.

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