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Dealing with Surface Roots

Avoid dulling your mower blades and more importantly damaging your trees by creatively dealing with the surface roots.

Don’t cut, dig, or shave off these important roots.  Damaging the roots creates openings for insects and diseases to enter and damage or kill your tree. 

Mulch is a simple solution.  Use a 2 to 3 inch layer of woodchips or shredded bark on the soil surrounding your tree. And be sure to keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree.

Shade tolerant perennials and groundcovers are another option.  Carefully plant between major roots and let the plants fill in the area.  New plantings will need to be watered regularly.

Add a splash of color with a few potted annuals set among the perennial groundcovers.  Or sink a few potted plants in the ground – you’ll need to water less.  It’s easier on the tree roots and your back.

A bit more information:  Save time and yearly digging when planting annuals under a tree.  Sink several old nursery pots, ones used for growing trees and shrubs, into the ground under the tree.  Plant your annuals in a slightly smaller pot.  Set this inside the old nursery pot.  This makes “planting”  and seasonal changes easier for you and gentler on the tree.  You’ll dig once for years of enjoyment.


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WCBA's Home Building &
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West Bend, WI

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“Castles & Gardens” Adventure in Ireland with Melinda Myers
Includes the Bloom Festival in Dublin!

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