How and When You Need to Remove Tree Roots

By: albertaarb - May 9, 2018

You can’t control where roots go, and this can lead to some real issues

Where Tree Roots Go Wrong


Tree roots are a major part of what keeps these massive plants functional, and while it’s a wonder to see nature in action, it’s also irritating when that nature interferes with your plans or designs for where you live. Unlike cutting a branch or two, tree root removal is a very involved process that may require specialized attention and tools. Here’s how to make it happen.

The Role of Tree Roots

The same things that make the question of how to remove tree roots such a headscratcher, are also what make them so effective in the first place. Chances are you probably have a working knowledge of exactly how the roots work. All plants need nutrients in the soil, and roots help draw those nutrients into the trunk. For trees, there’s also a second type of root: structural roots. These are designed to help support the tree’s weight, and being thicker and stronger, they pose the biggest block to tree root removal.

When to Remove Tree Roots

For the most part, unless you have tree roots interfering with piping or something underground, the main reasons to get rid of them are cosmetic. For example, if you cut down the trunk of a tree, but don’t want it growing back, you want to make sure you get rid of the roots as well. By the same token, tree roots and stumps may interfere with seeding grass in a certain area. In terms of timing, tree root removal is much like removing any portion of the tree, in that the dormant period between late winter and early spring is best. This is especially important for roots due to their importance. Cutting during the dormant period means you put as little stress as possible on the tree, and lower the possibility of fungal infections entering via the cuts that you make.

How to Remove Tree Roots

When the time comes to get rid of tree roots, you have a number of options to choose from. The feasibility of them will generally depend on the size of the tree and the nature of the roots, be they above or below the ground. If you have smaller above ground roots, basic gardening tools can help you dig them out in little time at all. In other situations, you may need to kill the roots to make them easier to remove. This can be done with poisons or, if the tree is already dead, you can speed up the decomposition by covering them in yard waste.

Whether you go natural or man-made, a professional tree service can help get rid of those unruly roots.

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