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Maple Tree roots sticking up -cant mow over

Maple Tree roots sticking up -cant mow over

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  #1  
Old 04-27-10, 01:17 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dracut, MA
Posts: 169
Maple Tree roots sticking up -cant mow over

I did a search and the last post on this type of subject was 2 years ago and didnít give the specific tree or location so I thought I would see (hope) if anything changed.

There is an old Maple tree in my big yard (est. the trunk to be 2.5-3' wide) and the roots are popping out of the ground in a half dozen locations. Either they are sticking out higher, or my ground is sinking because upon my first trip with the lawn mower I hit one and it stopped me dead in my tracks - this didnít happen last year. To make matters worse, its smack dap in the middle of a play area for my 3 year old son so he is always tripping over them. So far no injuries but I can foresee this being an issue...

Can I burry them with more dirt? Cut them out? I donít want to hurt the tree, it is a beautiful part of the landscape and really old given its size.

I live on the Mass/NH boarder about 1.5 miles from the ocean in a very high water area - if that makes a diff.

Thanks to any and all for sharing suggestions and experiences!
 
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  #2  
Old 04-27-10, 06:37 PM
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Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
emies,

Welcome to the forums.

Starting at the root of the problem (no pun intended!), I'm guessing that you have planted grass all around the tree and that you're watering that grass for short periods (20 to 30 minutes or so) every day or so. What that's doing is watering shallow for the grass. Guess where the tree roots are going to grow so that they can find water! Right to the top!! They weren't hit last year by the mower because they were smaller in diameter. (Just like the tree, the roots get bigger each year!)

The "best" cure would be to build a planter around the tree, large enough so that the roots are inside the planter, and simply never water that area. (Good place for a rock garden.) (In case you haven't thought of it, nobody goes out and waters the trees in the forest, and they survive just fine.)
 
  #3  
Old 04-28-10, 05:50 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dracut, MA
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Originally Posted by lefty View Post
I'm guessing that you have planted grass all around the tree and that you're watering that grass for short periods (20 to 30 minutes or so) every day or so.

The "best" cure would be to build a planter around the tree, large enough so that the roots are inside the planter, and simply never water that area.
Lefty, thank you for the input. I actually donít water the grass there, or anywhere in my lawn for that matter but my assumption was that either the type of soil, weather or some other factor controlled by Mother Nature was the driving force. Unfortunately I can't build a planter around the tree - the roots go out to the drip line of the tree (8-10 feet) so it would take up too much space.

I donít want to take it down but the roots are a tripping hazard for my kids so I may have to take drastic measures by covering the roots or cutting them out (or a combination fo the two). From what I have read, I will probably hurt the tree, but I'm between a rock and hard place so better the tree then my kids.

Any suggestions would be very welcome!
 
  #4  
Old 04-28-10, 06:31 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 198
Hi Emis:

I live in the same general area as you do. It could be that the tree is growing in an area where there is "ledge" (which is a solid granite barrier in the soil for the non New Englanders) and the roots have been restricted to growing near the surface.

If that is the case, cutting the roots could de-stablize the tree's support when we get those soft breezes coming up the coast and you'd have a supply of firewood ready to be cut.

Even if you don't have a ledge problem, its fairly common for some maples to grow surface roots. Cutting the roots and/or covering the roots with additional soil can seriously harm your tree. If you don't want to risk the tree, don't consider those options.

My suggestion is to build up the area around the roots with a mulch of large bark nuggets. You might also consider that rubber mulch. Don't cover them. Just go to the level of the top of the roots. You will have to rebuild the mulch a few times as it settles, but the tree should be OK.

Go SOX!
 
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