Ask a Question forum: Maple Tree Roots

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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 27, 2017 12:45 AM CST
My neighbors planted a maple tree between our houses 20 years ago. When I mentioned that maple trees are a problem around foundations, they cut it down. It came back as a multi-trunked tree and growing well. They moved away.

Now that side of my yard has a dozen roots rising to the surface. Mowing there is like driving over railroad ties. I need to remove or at least stop the roots.

I'm trying to decide the best way to kill the roots growing in my lawn. I spent an hour chopping one root with an ax. Way to slow.

So, I'm thinking a chain saw, a circular saw, or a saws-all. And because I know roots can rejoin in a close cut, I'm thinking placing cut pieces on plastic edging in the cuts.

I can't use a stump grinder to totally destroy the roots because they cross the electric and cable wires

What would YOU do?
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Oct 27, 2017 6:41 AM CST
You really only have 1 option !
Cut trees down, poison roots, and wait about 20 years for roots to all rot away.
If you were to say ! Go in with a back-hoe and rip all the surface roots out. You would stand a great chance of trees falling, onto your property, in a wet rain year.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 27, 2017 6:56 AM CST
Philipwonel said:You really only have 1 option !
Cut trees down, poison roots, and wait about 20 years for roots to all rot away.
If you were to say ! Go in with a back-hoe and rip all the surface roots out. You would stand a great chance of trees falling, onto your property, in a wet rain year.


I appreciate that. But I am more subtle. The winds blow toward the neighbor's house. It is in their yard and if it dies that is their problem. Not MY problem if all the dead roots in MY yard loosen the tree in their direction.

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 27, 2017 7:03 AM CST
A mixture of Remedy and diesel applied to the exposed roots would probably kill the tree - if you want to be that drastic.
Porkpal
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 27, 2017 7:06 AM CST
porkpal said:A mixture of Remedy and diesel applied to the exposed roots would probably kill the tree - if you want to be that drastic.


Nothing that obvious. But cutting the roots is entirely legal here.

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Oct 27, 2017 7:08 AM CST
Yard - we recently had to cut away some roots of an old juniper (cut down last year) to plant a new weeping tree. Used the sawzall with the "special" landscaping blade and it was a big help. Much better than digging out roots with a shovel.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 27, 2017 7:16 AM CST
Shadegardener said:Yard - we recently had to cut away some roots of an old juniper (cut down last year) to plant a new weeping tree. Used the sawzall with the "special" landscaping blade and it was a big help. Much better than digging out roots with a shovel.


Outstanding! I have a sawsall, but not the right blade I'll get one. Didn't know there was that type. Thank you.

Name: Archivesgirl
Salisbury, MD (Zone 7b)
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Critters Allowed Region: Maryland Birds
Frogs and Toads
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Archivesgirl
Oct 27, 2017 7:28 AM CST
Hum, I have a huge Oak in my side yard that has a big root that extends into the back property. I've covered it and covered it so as not to trip over the fool thing. Out in the front of my property, I have a weeping Cherry that a former fool owner planted next to the street on an angle, no less. It has about 4 large roots that get in the way of mowing the lawn so I killed any grass around it and laid down lot of top soil and mulch. Just to be sure I put a marker there so I wouldn't run over it with the lawnmower (I've chopped the tops of two of the roots and thought I had killed the mower).

Short of killing the tree (which if it's close to a foundation or even near it, the roots can kill a foundation and mess with your plumbing) the only thing I saw online that answered the question was in answer to someone's question on above ground roots:

"But it would be much less work to cover the roots with a mix of topsoil and peat moss (for acidity) and then establish a colony of mosses under the trees. High-quality mosses are available in the form of sod, plugs and spreadable powders, can be started in the Spring, never need cutting or feeding (just supplemental water and maybe a little help staying acidic), are green all year round and are a perfectly natural ground cover under trees. Speaking of 'ground cover', many low-growing, low-care ground covers would be just as good under trees as true moss, with the added advantage of being able to take more foot traffic than moss." Source=
http://www.gardensalive.com/pr... in answer to the second question down.

The other thing would be to ask the extension service or an arborist.

I've had large sugar maples removed from my yard (fool, former owner planted next to driveway) and planting anything on that side of the yard takes a lot of time because of the underground roots that aren't going to die until some time after I'm long gone. Cutting out the roots can be an all day project as you've seen with the ax.

Whatever you decide, I don't blame you for wanting to get rid of the roots. They're a nuisance.

Gayle PS Sorry for the book. Perhaps someone else has a suggestion?
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 27, 2017 7:40 AM CST
Archivesgirl said:Hum, I have a huge Oak in my side yard that has a big root that extends into the back property. I've covered it and covered it so as not to trip over the fool thing. Out in the front of my property, I have a weeping Cherry that a former fool owner planted next to the street on an angle, no less. It has about 4 large roots that get in the way of mowing the lawn so I killed any grass around it and laid down lot of top soil and mulch. Just to be sure I put a marker there so I wouldn't run over it with the lawnmower (I've chopped the tops of two of the roots and thought I had killed the mower).

Short of killing the tree (which if it's close to a foundation or even near it, the roots can kill a foundation and mess with your plumbing) the only thing I saw online that answered the question was in answer to someone's question on above ground roots:

"But it would be much less work to cover the roots with a mix of topsoil and peat moss (for acidity) and then establish a colony of mosses under the trees. High-quality mosses are available in the form of sod, plugs and spreadable powders, can be started in the Spring, never need cutting or feeding (just supplemental water and maybe a little help staying acidic), are green all year round and are a perfectly natural ground cover under trees. Speaking of 'ground cover', many low-growing, low-care ground covers would be just as good under trees as true moss, with the added advantage of being able to take more foot traffic than moss." Source=
http://www.gardensalive.com/pr... in answer to the second question down.

The other thing would be to ask the extension service or an arborist.

I've had large sugar maples removed from my yard (fool, former owner planted next to driveway) and planting anything on that side of the yard takes a lot of time because of the underground roots that aren't going to die until some time after I'm long gone. Cutting out the roots can be an all day project as you've seen with the ax.

Whatever you decide, I don't blame you for wanting to get rid of the roots. They're a nuisance.

Gayle PS Sorry for the book. Perhaps someone else has a suggestion?

I come here for the details. Write all you want, I loved your reply. The general stuff is obvious. Its the details that help. Thank you. You recognize the same "fools" I do . Do you like cats? Marry me, LOL!

[Last edited by Yardenman - Oct 27, 2017 7:56 AM (+)]
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Oct 27, 2017 8:10 AM CST
Personally, I think you are looking at those roots as a problem, and I think you might do better to recognize an opportunity.
Like archives girl said.... Let the maple leaves pile up....
Think of the work saved in never mowing that side yard again!

After the leaves have built up enough wood lot type soil, you can look around for spring ephemerals and other woodland plants.... Major improvement over yucky turf.

Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 27, 2017 8:46 AM CST
stone said:Personally, I think you are looking at those roots as a problem, and I think you might do better to recognize an opportunity.
Like archives girl said.... Let the maple leaves pile up....
Think of the work saved in never mowing that side yard again!

After the leaves have built up enough wood lot type soil, you can look around for spring ephemerals and other woodland plants.... Major improvement over yucky turf.



Yeah, but I have shubbery (thinking of "The Knights Who Say Neek")

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 27, 2017 9:01 AM CST
I like the idea of letting the roots bury themselves, but could there be a problem with water drainage if that part of the yard is raised?
Porkpal
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Oct 27, 2017 5:08 PM CST
Yard - DH got the 12" version of this blade -
https://www.homedepot.com/s/re...
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Oct 27, 2017 5:24 PM CST
Cindy, thanks for that info. I have a similar issue and plenty of HDs.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Oct 28, 2017 7:10 AM CST
You're welcome. Not saying there isn't some digging involved to uncover the tree roots but the saw saved us a lot more digging. Lots of oak trees here and takes years for the roots to decompose. After removing a few, we did have the stumps ground down but they were too close to the house to actually have someone pull out the roots with all of utilities running to the house.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb

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