Maple tree roots...

jrw8250(OH Z6)March 25, 2014

Does anybody know if any specific maple trees have deeper roots than the typical shallow/above ground variety? I think I read that Silver Maple and Norway Maple have some of the shallowest roots, but are there any that are deeper? I hate having to dodge roots while mowing the grass.

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

The likelihood of surface roots depends more on your soil and site conditions than tree species. Some species may be somewhat more prone than others to produce surface roots, but any maple is going to produce surface roots if conditions favor their creation.

Adding a mulched area (with shade/drought tolerant underplantings, if desired) is the best way to address having to mow over/around surface roots, when they develop.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:16AM
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eibren(z6PA)

Don't make the mulch too deep, though, or it will tend to suffocate the tree. If you gradually make the mulch deeper over several years, though, the tree will have time to respond by sending rootlets up through it.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:21AM
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Linda

Sugar and red maples are more deeply rooted than silver as are many of the lesser known maples. In my area, silver are the worst. Adding more soil will not help as the tree will gradually grow roots at ground level. Its growth habit is to be shallow rooted and there really is nothing you can do to change it. Piling mulch over about three inches will form a water barrier and piling mulch anywhere above the ground level against the bark is an invitation to rot, insects and disease.

Linda

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:40AM
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Linda

Sugar and red maples are more deeply rooted than silver as are many of the lesser known maples. In my area, silver are the worst. Adding more soil will not help as the tree will gradually grow roots at ground level. Its growth habit is to be shallow rooted and there really is nothing you can do to change it. Piling mulch over about three inches will form a water barrier and piling mulch anywhere above the ground level against the bark is an invitation to rot, insects and disease.

Linda

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:41AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it is my understanding.. for what that is worth ...that all trees have their roots in the first foot or two of soil ... depending on the soil.. and how hard they have to work for moisture ...

it is a common misconception... that the tree below.. is in the shape of the tree above ...

below is a pic of .. probably.. a silver .. on sand ... neighbors septic field dig .... imagine if it had been a bad clay soil ... or rocky ....

nothing will grow in those roots.. and ever time you cut them.. to plant something... the tree will refill the hole with new feeder roots.. before the plant can get established..... trees are super competitors ....

ken

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 7:08AM
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akamainegrower

The most common reason for surface rooting is overly compacted soil. There is simply so little oxygen available at lower levels that the roots stay in the upper area. Clay soil and the dubious "topsoil" spread around new construction make things worse.Species matters much less than the physical condition of the soil although some trees, notoriously Norway maple and spruces for example, tend to be shallow rooted.

As any tree matures, grass will be harder and harder to grow because of too much shade and too much competition from the tree for moisture and nutrients. A reasonable depth of coarse organic mulch will not smother the tree's roots. You will be able to plant tough shade tolerant plants like hostas and they will grow well until the tree's roots colonize the mulch. This will happen very quickly. Best solution? No grass. No hostas or other perennials. Moss instead. No worries about root competition. No mowing. Weeding a few times a year. Keeping leaves off for the winter. Both best done by assuming a Zen attitude.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 6:27AM
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