Tree MD

For homeowners who take pride in a lush, green lawn, the sight of tree roots sprawling across the landscape can be disheartening. While trees add beauty, shade, and value to a property, their roots can sometimes become problematic. If tree roots are wreaking havoc on your lawn, there are strategies you can adopt to manage the situation without sacrificing your tree or your turf.

Tustin CA Tree Service

Here’s a guide to understanding and addressing tree root challenges.

1. Why Do Tree Roots Surface?

Tree roots typically grow underground, searching for nutrients and water. However, there are reasons why they might breach the surface:

  • Soil Erosion: Over time, erosion can reduce the top layer of soil, revealing the roots underneath.
  • Compacted Soil: Trees struggle to penetrate compacted soil, so the roots may grow sideways and eventually surface.
  • Search for Water: In dry conditions, roots may gravitate towards the surface, where moisture from rainfall is more abundant.

2. Lawn Care Techniques

Regular Mowing

Regular mowing can prevent the grass from overshadowing tree roots. However, be cautious when mowing over exposed roots, as the mower can damage both the roots and its blades.


Topdressing involves adding a thin layer of soil or compost over your lawn, which can conceal exposed roots. Over time, the grass will grow through this layer, providing a smoother lawn surface.


After topdressing, consider overseeding your lawn. This process ensures that grass grows thick and healthy, helping to conceal roots and prevent erosion.

3. Addressing Root Issues

Root Pruning

Root pruning is a method where you cut away problematic roots. However, it’s essential to approach this with caution. Cutting a significant root can harm or even kill the tree. It’s advisable to consult an arborist before attempting root pruning.

Installing Root Barriers

If tree roots are heading towards a place you’d like to protect (like a driveway or home foundation), consider installing a root barrier. These barriers are placed in the ground and redirect roots deeper into the soil, preventing surface growth.

4. Rethinking Your Landscape


If certain areas of your lawn are particularly affected by root growth, consider turning those spots into mulched garden beds. Mulch provides a natural look that blends with the landscape while also conserving soil moisture and preventing erosion.

Ground Covers

Instead of grass, plant ground covers that thrive in shaded conditions and are tolerant of tree roots. Examples include periwinkle, sweet woodruff, and ferns.

5. If All Else Fails, Consider Tree Removal

If the tree’s health is declining or if its roots pose too significant a challenge, it might be time to consider removal. While this is often a last-resort option, in some cases, it might be the best choice for the overall health and aesthetic of your landscape. If you decide on this route, consult with professional tree services in Tustin, CA to ensure safe and effective removal.


While tree roots can pose challenges, they’re a sign of a thriving, growing tree. With a bit of creativity and care, you can maintain both the health of your tree and the beauty of your lawn. Always remember that trees and plants live in a delicate balance with their environment. By understanding their needs and habits, we can find solutions that benefit our entire landscape and if you need custom solutions for your trees consider reaching out to a professional tree service like Tree MD of Orange County as they a full time arborist on staff.

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