Will Removing Tree Roots Above Ground Kill The Tree?

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Removing Tree Roots Without Killing The Tree Guide

Will Removing Tree Roots Above Ground Kill the Tree?


Tree roots play a crucial role in the overall health and stability of a tree. They provide the tree with essential nutrients, water, and anchorage. However, there may be instances where tree roots grow above ground, causing potential hazards or aesthetic concerns. Many people wonder whether removing these exposed roots will harm or kill the tree. In this article, we will explore this topic and provide you with the necessary information.

Understanding Tree Roots

Tree roots typically grow underground, but certain factors like soil compaction, erosion, or surface grading can cause them to become exposed. Exposed roots can appear unsightly and may pose tripping hazards. However, it is essential to understand that tree roots are not just located underground; they also extend above the ground to provide stability and support to the tree.

Effects of Removing Exposed Tree Roots

Removing tree roots above ground can have both positive and negative effects on the tree. On the positive side, removing hazardous or damaged roots can minimize the risk of accidents and tripping. It can also improve the tree’s appearance by eliminating visible surface roots. However, the negative effects of removing exposed tree roots should not be overlooked.

Impact on Tree Health

Tree roots play a vital role in providing the tree with water and nutrients. Removing a significant portion of the exposed roots can disrupt the tree’s ability to absorb these essential resources, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies and dehydration. This can weaken the tree’s overall health and make it more susceptible to diseases and pests.

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Risk of Instability

Tree roots provide crucial anchorage to keep the tree upright and stable. When exposed roots are removed, it can compromise the tree’s stability, especially during strong winds or storms. The loss of these supporting roots can increase the risk of the tree toppling over, causing property damage or injuries.

Best Practices for Dealing with Exposed Tree Roots

If you are concerned about exposed tree roots, it is important to follow best practices to ensure the health and safety of the tree:

1. Consult an Arborist

Before taking any action, it is recommended to consult with a professional arborist who can assess the tree’s condition and provide expert advice on the best course of action.

2. Consider Alternatives

Instead of completely removing exposed roots, explore alternative solutions such as covering them with soil or mulch to reduce the visibility and tripping hazards.

3. Proper Pruning

If pruning is necessary, ensure that it is done correctly and by a trained professional. Improper pruning techniques can further damage the tree and increase the risk of infection.

4. Regular Tree Maintenance

Regularly maintain your trees by watering, fertilizing, and mulching as needed. Healthy trees are better equipped to handle stress and potential root issues.


Removing tree roots above ground should be approached with caution. While it can address immediate concerns, it can also have detrimental effects on the tree’s health and stability. Consulting an arborist and following proper tree maintenance practices are essential to ensure the long-term well-being of your trees.

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