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The Do’s and Don’ts of Caring for Exposed Tree Roots

The Do's and Don'ts of Caring for Exposed Tree Roots

Tree Roots are much closer to the surface of the ground than you may think; tree roots typically are in the top 12-inches of earth, which makes them vulnerable to exposure. Some things that can expose tree roots and jeopardize the health of the tree include erosion, runoff, and weather. Additionally, heavy foot traffic can also wear away the soil and unearth the Tree roots.

When caring for exposed tree roots, consider these do’s and don’ts:

Fall Hazard

When tree roots become exposed, they can cause a fall hazard and potentially cause injuries. Exposure can impact the health and wellbeing of the tree, so try to protect the roots of your trees, particularly your mature trees. Provide some insulation and cover for the roots and then leave them be; too much attention may also cause harm with the natural balance and ecosystem. 


When it comes to protecting and insulating tree roots, use mulch. Go with an organic material such as wood chips or shredded wood and spread in a layer around four-inches thick. Cover the whole area; mulch also cuts down on pest activity, too. Choose natural bark mulch varieties that meld with the natural surroundings, like cedar or redwood, black or pine mulches from your local home and garden supplier.


Be careful and vigilant about keeping the mower away from your exposed roots. They can easily become damaged, cut, and worn which will compromise the health of the entire tree. Avoid using string trimmers, weed whackers, or lawn and garden tools anywhere near these vulnerable roots. Create a barrier to prevent excessive foot traffic of any exposed roots on your property, which also curbs the chance of someone taking a nasty fall.


It may seem like a good idea to add soil and earth to the top of the exposed tree roots, but don’t. The soil can be too much or too compacted which messes with the oxygenation of the roots; over time, this may impact the wellbeing of the tree. Adding soil can choke the feeder roots, which is bad news for the tree.


Be protective of the trunk of your affected trees, too; don’t let the mulch accumulate or touch the trunk when applying it around the roots. The moisture may cause disease, rot, or mold. Remember that anything damaging to the bark, trunk, roots, or branches impacts the overall health and wellbeing of the tree; treat them with care. 

Do you have exposed tree roots? Use these tips to protect and preserve your tree’s roots, and call a Commercial Landscaping and Ground Services Company in Charleston, SC.  Carolina Services Grounds Division, for assistance with all your low-country landscaping needs, including exposed tree roots in your yard or property.