Trees and Shrubs forum: Maple Tree Roots

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CaptTony
May 26, 2017 6:33 AM CST
I'm going to be putting in 2-3" flagstone around the Lily's and Boxwoods in the front of my house to create a retaining wall around my plants and shrubs. I have a 12 year old Maple in the front yard with some surface roots in the areas where the retaining wall will be.

There are some spots where the flagstones will be laid where the surface roots from the Maple Tree will prevent the flagstone from being laid level.

Can I cut back surface roots where needed without compromising the health and stability of the tree?

Thumb of 2017-05-26/CaptTony/fe460f
Thumb of 2017-05-26/CaptTony/50ca95

Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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ViburnumValley
May 27, 2017 8:11 AM CST
Cutting the roots of a woody plant will compromise its health. The extent to which you cut is the issue.

Are you laying the flagstones directly on the soil, or are you excavating for a concrete footer or some other type of leveling course? More information will help provide better advice for your endeavor.
John
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
May 27, 2017 12:07 PM CST
Yes you can cut surface roots on maple. Yes it will make your maple less hardy. If you do remove surface roots, they will simply return in a few years and tip-up slates.
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Jun 15, 2017 12:12 PM CST
In my experience no amount of cutting and wacking on the roots will harm the tree, or keep the roots out. (maples only I am talking about here) I have not been able to grow anything, including weeds under my maple. The roots were incredibly invasive. They humped up and grew so much that we had to weed eat quite a ways around and were not able to even run a mower over the area to catch those few patchy weeds that managed to make it. I advise rocks and mulch, and plant your pretties in the back yard...
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jun 15, 2017 4:03 PM CST
My experience with maples here in middle Georgia, suggests that cutting the surface roots of the native maples causes them to fall over.

Japanese maples seem to have better root structure.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 15, 2017 4:53 PM CST
well I guess that would happen, if you cut all of the big roots off Hilarious!
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jun 15, 2017 5:14 PM CST
Nope, just cut through some of the roots on one side.
They're very shallow rooted.

springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 15, 2017 10:51 PM CST
Yes I do know they are shallow, wow I had a silver maple in my front yard, I don't think dynamite would have phased it Hilarious! We finally had to cut it down, the roots were so invasive. Nothing would grow, even 30-40 ft away my flower beds and foundation planting were full of its feeder roots and it sucked the life out of our yard.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jun 16, 2017 3:35 PM CST
Hmmm...
Don't have any of those around here.
Found this sivler maple range map at: https://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/...
Thumb of 2017-06-16/stone/4a613b

Original poster probably should find out specifically which maple he's dealing with, before going after the roots with an axe.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 16, 2017 10:49 PM CST
oh, wow i figured they were more widespread than that, for sure though, some of the maples do not have roots as bad as Silver.

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