Clump River Birch Ground Roots

kissmeinkyOctober 1, 2008

Recently I have noticed some rather large roots under the mulch where we have a 4 year old River Birch. When we bought these we asked the nursery if we should be concerned with any invasive roots since we were planting then fairly close to the house and they said no problems. Now I see this root snaking around in the flower bed and need to know what to do or if to even be concerned. There is sidewalk on one side of the area and stacking garden wall stones on the other sides. Please help ease my mind.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That root you see is most likely seeking the moisture, which the mulch is holding.

Three years ago, I planted three single trunked Heritage river birch trees in an area which sometimes gets flooded to an about 4 inch depth whenever the area experiences frequent rain periods. In the hot humid summers the soil dries out well. The Soil is a silty loam, and when I planted these trees I found that the soil had been hard packed by the frequent yearly flooding.

The planting turned out to be a lot of work because of the effort it took to dig that hard of soil. This was especially hard since at the same time I installed 5 "T" stakes for keeping the wind from whipping the young trees and tearing their roots.

This is on a vacant, slightly larger than half acre residential lot. That means any watering I give any of the trees I plant on that lot has to be trucked there.

For this reason, I have not supplimental watered these riverbirch trees.

Still, during the last three years, I have never seen any surface roots, growing from these birch trees, along the surface of the soil.

Three years ago I could not find any clumped Heritage birch trees at any of my local nurseries. And many of my local nurseries did not have any birch trees for sale. The nursery owners, at that time, told me that the demand for birch trees had drastically decreased, so it was no longer affordable to stock birch trees.

The reason for this decreased customer demand? Several nursery owners told me that customers found out that roots from birch trees they had planted did too much damage to their sidewalks and other concrete structures.

Even though no nursery would sell me a 10-15 gallon sized clumped Heritage River birch, I still wanted that tree for this area on my lot where no concrete or asphalt stuctures would ever need to be installed near enough for the roots to damage. That is why, once I found a nursery who had 3 gallon sized potted single trunked Heritage birches for sale, I purchased three of them and planted them in a triangle about 2 feet apart.

Since planting, our area has encountered a couple very dry and hot years with drastic sudden drop and rising of temps during those year's winters. We even experienced one winter event where light rain fell off and on for three days in 28-32 degree temps. This created heavy layers of damaging ice on the local trees' branches and even trunks.

Many of these trees suffered massive branch failure, and some on some of the trees in the area, their main leader trunks even snapped off.

Last winter when I checked my property for ice damage, I found that my Heritage birch trees needed to have a few broken branches pruned away. After pruning they looked quite bare.

This years' growing season has turned out to be one of the wettest years I can remember occuring locally. So now those well established birch trees have recovered and look the strongest I have have ever seen them.

Even with all the stress my trees have encountered, they still are not showing any signs of growing surface roots.

I do not know why. Maybe it could be due to fact that, after the breakdown of the first application of mulch I gave them, I never reapplied any mulch under these birch trees.

The only reason I have been able to get away with not continuing to mulch them might be because, growing nearby my birch trees on the neighboring property, there is a multi-trunked pecan tree, which provides afternoon shade for them.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I'd not be too concerned with these roots. Birch generally do not cause much in the way of problems with their root systems. Leave it be. Roots at or near the surface are a normal occurrence.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Most roots are near the surface, where the air is. On heavy soils bottoms of fallen trees may look like a bullet shot against an impenetrable hard surface, with the same exploded appearance where airless soil was encountered.

Type and condition of building foundations affects likelihood of roots being a problem, as well as kind of tree. River birch is a large-growing tree, so it may branch over the top of your house even if it does not have muscular roots.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 10:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i have just bought a home and in my front yard is a clump river birch. i don't know alot about trees but has anyone ever noticed water drops coming from thier trees. i live in central alabama, is this something usual? any feed back would be great ty

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had a clump river birch for years and this is the first time I have seen drops of water or something coming down from the tree. what is it???

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live near Atlanta and a month ago I had to have a mature river birch taken down. It had outgrown my small backyard and I couldn't grow any grass which caused erosion issues. After the stump was ground away, I noticed a wet spot roughly 10 feet away from the main trunk area. Can the root system on these trees purge water? sort of percolating from a root underground? I have pruned this tree in the past and noticed it will release lots of water after pruning. I tore out a few of the larger roots but left a few untouched. I'm hoping its not a damaged utility line causing the water spot but its in the middle of the yard and I would not suspect a water pipe since the water meter is along the front of the house and there's no irrigation system I am aware of in the backyard. I guess I can dig down and see if there's a root under the wet spot. Many thanks for any ideas. KennesawMike

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it would be the first time i ever heard of such ... over said time ... maybe for minutes. or an hour ... but not season to season ...

if you had erosion problems.. one would expect a hill.. so why would you think it anything other than spring water flow???

call miss dig.. and explain the issue.. to insure its not a utility.. or the water co ....


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:48PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
general all-purpose fertilizer recommendation?
Can anyone recommend a good, all-purpose granular (perferably...
need suggestions for trees
looking for ornamental small evergreen shade tree for...
Growing Hickory and Hican for Nut Production (3)
Continuing from part 1 and 2 (maximum posts reached) Good...
My Yoshino cherry tree hasn't bloomed yet
I live in GA and have a Yoshino cherry tree that I've...
American elms seeds wanted
When we were discussing pruning the damaged elm, I...
Sponsored Products
Ashton Pet Bed Dog Bed
$109.50 | FRONTGATE
Quick-Blend Whisk
$7.99 | zulily
Luxury Corner Dog Bed
Grandin Road
Mighty Dog Replacement Core - 36"
$89.50 | FRONTGATE
Electric Green Mixfit 28-Oz. Shaker Bottle
$7.99 | zulily
Washington Nationals Protein Shaker
$16.99 | zulily
Mighty Dog Bed Sheets
$39.50 | FRONTGATE
Texas Rangers Protein Shaker
$16.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™