Thread: Tree advice

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  1. #1

    Tree advice

    I just moved to the burbs of Chicago last summer, & would appreciate some advice on how I should handle a few trees in my backyard.

    Many of the roots from the base of the tree are exposed at the base of the tree. It is clay here, so I'm guessing that either they didn't put the trees in deep enough, or it was just too hard for the tree roots to grow down into the soil.

    My question is, is there anything I can really do about that? Is it something I could possibly put a load of soil around to bury the exposed roots?

    Even if that is a possibility (adding soil and/or mulch), my second question is if I should even do it, based on the location of the trees. I've attached a few photos so you can see how close the trees are to each other. There are 3 trees planted in each far corner of the lot, so I'm considering leaving the corner trees, and the removing the two on each side of the corner tree.

    Overall, all of the trees appear to be healthy, with plenty of leaf growth in the summer.

    Thanks for any and all advice!

    MST
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  2. #2
    Oak
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    St. Louis zone 6
    Posts
    312

    RE: Tree advice

    Oh wow. Am I seeing right that all three trees have essentially the same surface roots?

    What kind of trees are those BTW?

    Erosion causes some surface roots a couple spots in my yard. My riding mower causes some damage to these. Occasionally I'll attempt to dump dirt on or over portions of the roots with moderate success. By dirt I mean when I'm done with dirt in a one gallon pot or so I walk over and dump it there.

    Looks like the previous owner was attempting to plant some bushes under the trees to eliminate the need to mow or walk over the roots. If you do too much though you stand a chance of disturbing the trees.
    Zone 6, St. Louis, MO

  3. #3

    RE: Tree advice

    if you have the time and would like the "look" of it, you might like to put about 3-4" of much around the whole area and create a "tree island."

    it will cut down on mowing, tripping over the roots and potential root damage (or mower damage for that matter)

    the problem is cost and time (unless you get it blown in, making it more expensive)

    if those are maple trees, those shrubs may not make it, btw -- but i can't tell what's growing there

  4. #4

    RE: Tree advice

    Thanks for the responses. I have a photo of the leaf (I have not been able to ID it), so I'll have to post that later.

    Yes, all 6 trees have the same root issue. I had given thought to using a lot of mulch, making a "tree island" as suggested... but the roots extend pretty far out, so the idea of doing that wouldn't full take care of the issue. Not to mention that the yard definitely slopes WAY back (the sewer drain is at the rear right corner of the lot). One major rain storm, and 1/2 the mulch could disappear into the drain!

    I may just need to get someone out to look at the trees, give me some advice. The trees are really nice at full-bloom, but they are so close together, a few more years of growth may result in the parts of the tree growing into each other die out. Or am I wrong about that? As nice as the trees are, there's a part of me who thinks it might just be better to give the two corner trees the best shot at life, and take out the other 4 before they get too big to manage. If I took those other 4 out, I could even get a chunk of those surface roots out of the way too.

    MST

  5. #5

    RE: Tree advice

    Once you get an ID on the tree and search for info about it, that may give you the best ideas for what to do.

    If you can afford to have a pro come out and find a solution, the earlier you do it, the better.

    I can't ID them. The shape says one thing, the bark another, and I was never that good at tree ID from a distance anyway.

  6. #6
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Tree advice

    From the distant angle, showing all 3 trees, they almost look like Birch trees, but the close-ups of the trunk say otherwise.

    I like the "mulch island" idea - surround the trees with a garden and mulch it, this way the roots aren't an issue for the mower and the trees can stay as-is. I don't think they are too close together, trees grow this way naturally.

  7. #7

    RE: Tree advice

    Some trees just do that. Poplar for example.

    Occassionaly, compacted soil from previous construction seems to make the surface rooting more pronounced. Seemingly less likely in old neighborhoods.

    Red maples are one that surface root like that here, but generally not as significantly or as soon as the trees in your photos.


  8. #8
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sylva NC zone 7
    Posts
    276

    RE: Tree advice

    Maybe poplar.

  9. #9

    RE: Tree advice

    Here's a close-up of the leaves/trees. I haven't been able to ID myself. Any guesses?

    Thanks!

    MST
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  10. #10
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Tree advice

    Definitely looks like hybrid poplar/poplar leaves. I think mdvaden is on the money.

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