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Old 05-04-2012, 04:11 PM   #1
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Shallow tree roots


So I have two pretty large tres in my back yard. Trees are probably close to 50 and 80' high. Back yard is roughly 30x100'. Now the larger tree...holy roots! I'm always tripping over those damn things and the lawn mower doesn't care much for them either. Ideally, I'd like to find a way to keep the trees yet live in harmony rather than angst with them.

If I start chopping and digging up roots, the tree will suffer considerably. I don't want to kill it.

I could lay some dirt down... Perhaps a big mulch bed between the two trees and throw some flowers or something down in there? Is this pretty low maintenance?

My major concern is the patio I wanted to put in on the backside. Id prefer some concrete, but laying this over the roots will probably cause some issues, no?

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Old 05-04-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
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Shallow tree roots


This is the area in question. The big tree is on the right side, almost out of frame. The small free is the one with the stone leaning against it.
The tree in the middle is the rear neighbor's, disregard it.

So...mulch bed? Rock bed? More dirt?
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:56 PM   #3
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Shallow tree roots


Not sure I am seeing two trees on your property.

Anyhow, does your municipality have an arborist on staff. I lived in one of America's urban forests and the arborists were great source of advice. Alternatively you probably have tree surgery companies and private sector arborists that could help. People in ag extension offices can be helpful too.
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:02 PM   #4
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Shallow tree roots


I've hired a private and highly referred arborist to trim back some of the daunting branches. They recommended not destroying too many of the roots otherwise risk the tree health. Here's some more pictures of the trees in question.
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:57 AM   #5
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Shallow tree roots


What ever you end up doing, do not cut the roots and do not put a heavy layer of top soil down. Mulch or decorative stone, pebbles would be OK .
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:28 AM   #6
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Shallow tree roots


Depending on where those tripping hazard roots are you can make I large bed or two smaller ones with a swath of grass between. Either way will look good, but ripping off the sod and turning over the soil to make the beds will be next to impossible because of the large roots and the series of feeder roots that are there.
Roots extend the same length that you see the overhead branches.

Here's what I would do:

Decide what to plant...obviously shade stuff..lots of different hostas and some solomons seal would look great for a start.
lay out a string or hose around the edge to make a nice curvy shape that you like.
With an edger, dig the perimeter shape. Do your best when you get to a root. See how hard that is, this is why I don't suggest trying to rip off the sod..bear with the plan.

Take your pots of plants and arrange and re arrange until you like it. Yes, do this right on top of the grass. Leave lots of space in between each plant, because they will get bigger and wider each year.

Throw in the odd large rock or two for interest, but do it after the mulch part.

Dig holes for those plants, adjusting location as you go because of the roots. Make the holes twice or three times as big if you can to accomodate new ammended soil and compost. Place some new soil into the hole and then plant your stuff.

Take a large pot or bucket and invert over the new plant to protect it

Place a thick layer of newspaper over the remaining sodded areas. The thicker the better. It will kill the sod, chemical free This will act as landscape fabric, but will break down in a year and not end up annoying you for the rest of your life like fabric will.

Dump your mulch...black looks great. Place your LARGE rocks in. Remove inverted pots and VOILA.. instant beauties garden

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Old 05-05-2012, 09:28 AM   #7
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Shallow tree roots


My concern is that I was going to put a concrete patio down. I guess it's not really prudent to place the patio anywhere near the currently
Emerging roots....
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:27 AM   #8
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Shallow tree roots


how far out from the sliders do you plan on doing a patio. if near the actual tree maybe float the patio just above the ground couple of inches.minimal saw-zall one or two roots back won't kill the tree.water up the tree roots in the hot weather getting it ready for surgery.that would be nice having a patio catching some of that tree shade.
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:09 PM   #9
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Shallow tree roots


Pouring concrete over tree roots is never a good idea.

Why not landscape design around them?

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