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How can you work with above the ground tree roots?

by | Mar 10, 2010 | Market News, Ask Pahl's Market, Resources

We have a couple of very large cottonwood trees in our yard. The roots are up above the grass in many areas and they are hard to mow around.  I was wondering if we can plant flowers around them and if so, what would be the best way to do that? I guess we can’t put a brick wall border around it because the roots would be in the way. Please help!
Thanks, Joan

Dear Joan,

Planting around or in between exposed tree roots can be tricky.  The soil near tree roots tends to be dry and compacted, so digging is a chore, not to mention the roots themselves get in the way.  Covering the roots with soil can smother the roots and cause stress to the
tree.  And if the tree is large enough the roots will resurface eventually.   My suggestion would be to use a thin layer of wood chip mulch to even out the surface area and save you the trouble of mowing over the roots. Consider planting flowers in containers and arranging
them around the base of the tree.  Add a small bench to the arrangement and your problem mowing area will become a colorful shady retreat.

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