mature tree roots growing above ground and blocking a natural path

Above-Ground Tree Root Removal: How to Cut Roots Without Killing Your Tree

Most tree root systems furrow deep into the ground; however, some roots grow outwards, causing problems.

Above-ground roots can damage your lawnmower, kill your grass, heave your sidewalk and driveway, rupture sewer pipes and even crack your home’s foundation. Consequently, you may be wondering if you can remove tree roots without killing your tree.

Here are a few tips from All Season Tree Service.


Take measurements

First, we’ll want to dig out the soil surrounding the problem roots. Using a measuring tape, measure the root’s diameter. Roots that are less than five centimetres around can be cut.

Roots that are close to the tree shouldn’t be removed. We measure the tree’s diameter at about one metre above the base. Take this number and multiply it by five. This number indicates the distance from the tree where you should leave the roots alone. For example, if you have a tree that’s one metre in diameter, you should avoid removing roots within five metres of the tree.


Limit root removal

As a general rule, one shouldn’t remove more than 20 per cent of a tree’s exposed roots. Removing any more can put undue stress on the tree and kill it. After removing the roots, it’s a good idea to wait at least two or three years before removing any more. Furthermore, we’ll want to make sure the hole left behind by removing the roots is filled properly with soil.


Risks of tree root removal

Tree roots should only be removed when they’re causing damage to your property or are a safety risk because the procedure can negatively impact the tree’s health. Additionally, improperly removing roots or removing roots too close to the tree can cause it to become unstable and make it more likely to topple over in a wind storm, thereby requiring emergency tree services.

It's a good idea to consult a professional from a reputable tree service like All Season if you’re unsure about what to do.


Alternatives to tree root removal

Instead of tree root removal, you may want to consider using topsoil to cover exposed roots. Alternatively, you can place rocks or mulch around the tree to conceal the roots. Ensure the covering is no more than eight centimetres deep, as too much mulch can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the tree.


Tree Services in Edmonton And the Surrounding Area

At All Season Tree Service, our professional arborists can help with above-ground tree root removal. Our professional team has the tools and training to carefully remove above-ground roots without hurting your trees. Contact us today to schedule a service call and learn more about our products and services.