Tilling the yard under but have exposed roots


I hope this is not OT here. I am going to put in a new yard. The current one is barely there. This lack of grass has resulted in erosion of the soil and exposing of tree roots.
I'm going to till the yard under but don't want to harm the roots as you can imagine. The trees are tall and nice, probably 25yrs old.
My plan was to:
- dump some enriched new topsoil into the yard and level it out
- determine the depth that the tiller goes
- follow the exposed root to where it goes underground
- determine at what point the root goes deep enough to be safe from the blade
- plant a stake there, then plant one where the root joints the base of the tree
- tie a string between the stakes
Then it seems I should be able to till the whole yard under without hitting a root as long as I avoid the string.
I've helped put in a yard on a new construction house but the trees were tiny and roots were not an issue. Let me know if you see any problems with this plan. Thanks.
I'll be putting in sod after the tilling. I plan to thin out the canopy of branches overhead. Even though it's a nice looking canopy and I keep the branches trimmed, I think the lack of light is what contributed to the decline of the yard.
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hal wrote:

    If I were you I would contact someone knowledgeable about trees and their care. Some trees (Oaks for instance) can be killed by covering exposed roots or changing the soil level near the base of the tree. A local extension service expert has a radio show where people call in with gardening questions. Often the complaint is "How do I grow grass under my tree with exposed roots?" Invariably, she will say that if forced to choose between the tree and grass, take the tree. Good luck.
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Ken wrote:

I second the advice to figure out what kind of trees you have. The fact that surface roots exist is cause for concern. Some species of trees are known for producing surface roots, making it very difficult, if not impossible, to grow grass under them. If you have a tree known for surface root problems, the roots will move up into the new topsoil. Many states have AG county services where you can bring pics, samples, etc to get free advice. If it is related only to erosion, then your plan sounds like a good one.
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Good trees and good lawn are hard to accomplish at the same time. If your tree wants surface roots, the usual approach is to build a sort of shallow well around the trunk out to where the roots go underground, and fill outside of that. The downsode of that is thatyou have to be careful about grading and drainage, or you risk drowning the trees (and/or your foundation).
Was it me, I'd acidify, and try growing moss, instead.
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wrote:

ok thanks for all the replies. It looks like it's not as simple as I thought.
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