Oak refers to the trees and shrubs that belong to the genus Quercus. There are approximately 400 different species of oak trees, including red oaks, white oaks and turkey oaks, that grow from acorns. Some varieties of oak trees will live for over 200 years during which time the root systems will grow up rather than down when subterranean space becomes limited. This leads to unsightly, nuisance roots that grow above-ground and disrupt the beauty and flow of the yard.
Things You'll Need
- Small shovel
- Sharp hand saw
- Wood mulch
Dig away the ground around approximately 25 percent of the above-ground roots with a small shovel. Select roots that are approximately 1 foot in diameter or less as these will provide fewer nutrients to the tree than the larger roots. Continue to dig until the surfaces of the selected roots are uncovered.
Cut the root at the point where it pokes out of the soil with a sharp hand saw, taking care that you do not cause damage to any surrounding roots or vegetation.
Recover the root with the soil that was previously removed. This will ensure that the newly severed roots do not become susceptible to fungal or bacterial infections.
Water the tree. Provide the tree with a healthy drink of water to replenish the recently compromised root system.
Cover the area under the tree with a 2-inch layer of wood mulch. The decomposing mulch will offer nutrients to the tree's roots while protecting the ground from any erosion, which will also expose roots that would otherwise remain underground.
Tips & Warnings
- Avoid cutting any of the larger, major components of the root system. This will lead to wilting leaves, sagging branches and tree death.
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