A tree’s root system is a complex structure made up of long, winding roots that intertwine and fuse together to provide tremendous strength against natural forces. Since the majority – or entirety – of a tree’s roots exist beneath the ground, it’s not a sight many homeowners get to see. Sometimes, one or a few of a tree’s roots can become visible above the ground. Let’s take a look at what it means when exposed tree roots begin to occur and how to deal with them to keep your tree healthy and your yard safe.
The Primary Cause of Exposed Roots
Despite the fact that it might seem like your tree’s roots are growing in an upward direction, the root system of a tree actually grows outwards and downwards from the base. One of the most common causes of roots becoming visible above ground is erosion. When the ground above a tree’s root system is exposed to runoff, rain, wind, and even lack of sunshine for an extended period of time, soil erosion can occur naturally, leaving roots underneath exposed.
What To Do with Exposed Tree Roots
When a tree’s roots are exposed, they can easily become damaged by lawn tools or foot traffic. Damaged roots can’t efficiently collect nutrients and water for the tree as they’re supposed to, which can negatively affect your tree’s health. When you find yourself with exposed tree roots in your yard, there are a few things you can do to prevent damage and keep your tree healthy:
- Discourage foot traffic in the area.
- Spread mulch over exposed roots to cushion and insulate them.
- Opt for organic materials like pine straw, pine bark nuggets, or shredded wood for mulching
- If you notice signs of soil erosion, cover the entire area with mulch to prevent other roots from being exposed.
- Avoid mowing too closely to the exposed roots.
- Want an alternative to mulching around the exposed roots? You can instead plant ground cover by spreading new soil and adding plants like Periwinkle, Ajuga, Wild Violets, Asiatic jasmine, or Monkey Grass to the area around your tree.