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  1. #1
    Veteran Member wedge40's Avatar
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    Default Maple tree roots.

    What yard I have to mow has a bunch of Maple trees in it. What can be done with the surface roots that poke out of the ground.
    If I cut them will the trees die? Or it I put a nice layer of fill dirt over them will they just pop through again?


    Wedge
    1967 Ford 4000,Mahindra 4530 with FEL and BH, Box blade, straight blade, FEL, Rake, Bushhog, Backhoe, Jinma chipper, KKII tiller, Grapple. Mahindra 4530, with FEL and Backhoe.

  2. #2
    Silver Member nate_m's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
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    142
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    South West OHIO
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    JD 2520

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    Good question, Wedge. I have the same problem around my place.

    In the past, I have done a little of both methods with no apparent ill-affects.

    Roots that pop up in the yard away from the trunk of tree, I have just cut off. These are typicaly 1" in diam or less.

    The bigger "butress" roots of the tree that are next to the trunk, I will shovel in some dirt or mulch around the whole tree.
    ~Nate

    JD2520

    "I'm not your ordinary, everyday fool." - Clark W. Griswold.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Sep 2003
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    Hartselle, Alabama
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    Deere 2520

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    I have the same problem. I cut the yard that used to be my Grandparents. They planted about 8 Maple trees that came from what is now my wife's Grandparents. I raise the deck some and just mow around them, but I don't like it. I'm afraid to cut the roots, and have wondered if dirt would help. I may end up with just mulch in big circles around them. JC
    JD 3320 LX5, KK rake and off brand box and rear blade. Millonzi grapple. Deere X495 for grass cutting.
    01 Ram 4x4 2500 CTD and 22' 12k trailer. Want a tiller and dump trailer.

  4. #4
    Super Member
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    Feb 2006
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    VA
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    JD2010, Kubota3450,2550, Mahindra 7520 w FEL w Skid Steer QC w/Tilt Tatch, & BH, BX1500

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    Quote Originally Posted by wedge40
    What yard I have to mow has a bunch of Maple trees in it. What can be done with the surface roots that poke out of the ground.
    If I cut them will the trees die? Or it I put a nice layer of fill dirt over them will they just pop through again?
    Wedge
    Ive never killed a tree by operating on these roots. I have usually just shaved the tops off of them. Now that I have a flail mower Ill use it to mill them to ground level.
    larry

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Sep 2000
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    russellville, arkansas
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    Kubota M4900, B7510 and RTV

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    i think i killed a maple tree this year, by using roundup around the base, after i had mowed and cut the surface roots: i made the mistake of planting sugar maples over 20 years ago, and they look nice in the fall, but the roots are a son of a gun to mow over/around...next time, as if there will be a next time, i'll plant bradford pare trees instead..
    heehaw

  6. #6
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Fullsized JCB Loader/Backhoe

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    Quote Originally Posted by heehaw
    next time, as if there will be a next time, i'll plant bradford pare trees instead..
    heehaw
    I know you qualified your statement with "as if there will be a next time", but with that said...there's no way I'd ever go out of my way to buy/plant a Bradford. Yeah, they're pretty trees....but I just get irritated every time I see them splitting in half or losing their branches during a storm. Of course, having to then clean them up isn't any fun either (on my father in laws lawn)

  7. #7
    Gold Member
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    Apr 2008
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    USA
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    Kubota B2320

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    The roots come to the ground, this is normal, they need to breath. Do not cover them, do not cut them. You might get away with doing it a few times.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member davitk's Avatar
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    South Central Wisconsin

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    I mulch mine; every time the power company comes around to trim trees they drop off a truckload of wood chips. Spray the weeds that pop up through the mulch with Roundup, and your good to go.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Mar 2004
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    20 mi SE of Sacramento, CA-rural
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    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    In addition to giving foundational anchorage to a tree, the roots provide the tree with three things, nutrients, water, and air.

    Maples, like poplars, aspens, etc., like to grow in boggy places. Other trees that grow in moist but non-saturated loam, can get air from roots that are completely sub-surface. Since maples are usually in boggy soils, the sub-surface roots have no exposure to air, so some of the roots have to extend a bit above the surface to get air. If covered lightly with porus soil (i.e. sand), they probably can still breathe. If completely burried and water completely surrounds all roots, the roots will have to grow higher or the tree will die. The same thing applies with shaving the roots at the surface. This also provides an opportunity for fungal and other infections. This need to breathe is why some trees sucker and is why swamp cypress grow "knees" (which grow out of the root); they need the air.

    I can't tell you what to do, but I hope this helps understand why the roots do what they do on a maple. Good luck with it.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member davitk's Avatar
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    South Central Wisconsin

    Default Re: Maple tree roots.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_H
    In addition to giving foundational anchorage to a tree, the roots provide the tree with three things, nutrients, water, and air.

    Maples, like poplars, aspens, etc., like to grow in boggy places. Other trees that grow in moist but non-saturated loam, can get air from roots that are completely sub-surface. Since maples are usually in boggy soils, the sub-surface roots have no exposure to air, so some of the roots have to extend a bit above the surface to get air. If covered lightly with porus soil (i.e. sand), they probably can still breathe. If completely burried and water completely surrounds all roots, the roots will have to grow higher or the tree will die. The same thing applies with shaving the roots at the surface. This also provides an opportunity for fungal and other infections. This need to breathe is why some trees sucker and is why swamp cypress grow "knees" (which grow out of the root); they need the air.

    I can't tell you what to do, but I hope this helps understand why the roots do what they do on a maple. Good luck with it.
    Hmmm, interesting info. I've been trying to grow American Tamarack, Black Spruce and Swamp Oak for three years now in a blue clay field which floods seasonally, and after about 3 months under water the trees start to die, I have been assuming by drowning. Learn something new eveyday

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