Removing Surface Tree Roots: Is It Necessary?

Adding trees to any landscape can quickly boost that landscape’s visuals. Many trees are also very sturdy and don’t require much maintenance. However, seeing large surface roots strikes concern in most property owners. 

Many homeowners wonder if removing surface tree roots is necessary and possible. Some trees have shallow root systems and are prone to exposing their roots above the soil. However, exposed surface roots in other trees may indicate other issues. 

This blog post explores what you should do with surface tree roots and when you need tree trimming in Pensacola

What Causes Exposed Tree Roots? 

Many factors can lead to exposed tree roots, including the following: 

  • The tree species: Tree species like willows, freeman maples, linden, and silvers naturally have larger roots. These shallow roots often creep above your soil and aren’t a cause for concern. 
  • Soil quality: The quality of your soil can also lead to exposed roots. For example, nutrient-deficient soil lacking oxygen can expose roots. Compacted soils are another culprit, and tree roots start to itch toward the surface where more oxygen lies. 
  • Not enough space: Trees need room to grow, and crammed trees compensate for the lack of space by spreading roots towards the surface. While primarily an issue in urban areas, you should still check if any obstructions are blocking your tree’s growth path. 

Can You Remove Surface Tree Roots? 

Exposed tree roots can be a safety hazard, and many homeowners don’t like them simply for aesthetic reasons. However, we don’t recommend removing surface tree roots in most cases. Your trees need their roots to gather nutrients; cutting or eliminating them can jeopardize this process. 

You should only implement tree root removals when they’re putting nearby structures like your sidewalk or home in danger. Additionally, be prepared to remove the entire tree in these situations. 

What Can You Do Instead? 

While exposed tree roots look unpleasant, they are a fixable problem. 

Your first solution is to find ways to cover the exposed roots. Apply a layer of mulch or compost to cover your tree roots while providing them with much-needed nutrients. Many experts recommend bark mulch because it protects from soil erosion and promotes better water and airflow. 

You can also add a layer of soil mixed with grass seed. However, ensure this layer is only two to three inches thick, and water regularly. 

Some homeowners experiment with plants or tiny shrubs. While this can be a creative solution, any extra vegetation will compete with your trees for nutrients. 

Lastly, call our team to check your tree’s overall health. Exposed surface roots aren’t always a warning sign. However, they often indicate that your tree lacks nutrients and oxygen access. 

Help Your Trees Grow Today with Tri-State Tree Service 

In most scenarios, removing surface tree roots does more harm than good. However, sometimes your tree roots need trimming or pruning. Our Tri-State Tree Service professionals can inspect your trees and recommend the right solutions. If you’re a Pensacola, FL, homeowner, call our team today at 850-876-8003 to learn more about tree health or explore small flowering trees for your yard


Tri-State Tree Service is an award-winning business supplying premier tree removal, tree trimming, and other tree care services to Florida’s northwest & Alabama's southeast coastal regions.

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6146 Mobile Hwy.
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