How to Cover Exposed Tree Roots


Tree roots can become exposed due to soil erosion. As the roots of a healthy tree grow and thicken, they can eventually push their way through the soil causing a tripping hazard on the lawn, interfering with lawn mowing, and sometimes breaking through sidewalks and driveways. Lawn mowers and heavy foot and vehicular traffic can damage surface roots exposing the tree to opportunistic diseases and insect infestations. The remedy is to lightly cover the roots without causing damage to the roots or the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch (wood chips or straw)
  • Add a layer of mulch around the base of the tree. Light mulching with wood chips or straw provides physical protection, protects roots from sun damage, and helps the roots to retain moisture.

  • Place enough mulch to reach a height of about 1-3 inches. The tree's roots require air and moisture so avoid putting down a heavy layer of mulch. Excessive amounts of mulch can lead to root rot if water cannot easily drain away.

  • Spread the mulch to reach out to 1/2 to 2/3 of the tree's drip line. The circumference of the tree and the size of your lawn can help you determine how far out to spread the mulch.

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