After moving into our house I re-did the entire front yard. We have a 20
year old Maple in the corner of the yard, beautiful tree and want to
keep if for it shades the house most afternoons in the summer. I removed
all grass from the base out to drip line ( where branches stop). I want
to put down a defining border but the roots of the tree are so close to
surface can't dig down much. I would like to be able to mow next to it
and not edge every 2 weeks to maintain a clean looking lawn.
Any one have experience with this? I have asked around but no one really
has answer out of just cut the roots in the way.. I am afraid this
would /might kill the tree.
I want to put bark dust or color rock around base of tree so it will
look nice after putting down weed paper.
If you are at the edge of the dripline, cutting roots should not
significantly harm a healthy tree (assuming the branches are normally
distributed--more useful indicator would be a foot of mulch zone
diameter per inch of trunk diameter at standard height, or 4.5 feet
above grade). There would be a lot of roots lost, but there would be
a lot retained, as well. The tree might even benefit by concentrating
more roots within the area which will now be mulched, thus reducing
competition from grass.
I would skip the "weed paper" and just put down an adequate layer of
mulch to stifle weeds. This is generally recommended to be 3 inches
thick, more or less. Think about that--most mulch is placed at most
an inch deep. 3 inches is as long as most people's fingers. Choose
an organic mulch for maximum benefit instead of rocks. The wood
chips, bark, or similar stuff you can buy at any garden center or
nursery will decay and nourish the soil while invigorating the soil
ecosystem and breaking down compaction. Rocks offer some benefit, but
not these important ones.
Make sure to apply the mulch properly. The layer on the soil should
be thick, but the trunk flares at the base of the tree should remain
exposed to air. For more info, visit
ISA Certified Arborist #TX-0236AT
You are the first person who says safe to remove roots in the way. Here
is the rest of my concern. On one side of tree is a public sidewalk and
I get feeling previous owners of house did not water much for the
entire yard was bad when we moved it. Started at top of hill and have
been working down, now at base where tree is. Roots always seem to be
just inches ( i.e. 2 or less) from surface so guessing looking for
water.. we have added a bit of top soil and have used a tree water pick
to water around drip last 3 years to encourage deep roots to save grass.
I am afraid of removing any roots I find and a few are rather large in
size. I would be willing to remove one or two if really needed. the one
idea I got was to just put the border where the roots are not, it might
not be a true straight line but would allow me to keep a defined end and
still keep most of the roots.
I know I am all over place on this one, sorry
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