A tree's root system is an extremely complex type of growth, both anchoring the tree and allowing it to absorb water and the other nutrients it needs to flourish. But surely the roots need to be below ground for all this to happen? It's actually fairly common for a tree's roots to become exposed and even extend along the surface of the ground. Whether or not this is a problem can depend on the tree's proximity to any structures on your property.
Types of Roots
What can be thought of as the tree's primary anchor roots are generally where you would expect them to be. These are known as the taproots. They start at the base of the tree and extend downwards. Smaller roots that branch outwards (whether aboveground or not) are feeder roots (known as lateral roots). They can still play a significant role in helping the tree to anchor itself.
What Affects Root Formation
Some trees have a more pronounced lateral root system than others. The type of soil the tree grows in can also affect the development of lateral roots. Hard soil or damp soil can encourage the growth of lateral roots, as the tree is literally extending these roots to locations where it can find sufficient nutrients.
While the formation of aboveground lateral roots can look rather beautiful, it's not the most practical development. As these roots snake outwards, they'll begin to impact anything they come into contact with. This can include your concrete paving, your swimming pool and even your home. The roots won't necessarily grow around an obstacle, and will attempt to break through. They're generally successful, even though it may take them years to achieve their goal. So is it just a matter of trimming back those roots every so often.
Trimming the Roots
Cutting into a tree's lateral roots is a risky proposition. While they're not the tree's primary form of anchorage, they do help to stabilise it. Removing these roots can destabilise a tree, and depending on the tree's size, this can be dangerous. Even when the tree can retain its stability, you're depriving it of one of its primary means of obtaining nutrients. This means that the tree might become unwell and eventually die.
Instead of trimming the roots, you might think that you can just bury them. This is a temporary measure, and the roots will find their way to the surface again before too long. Mulch, which conceals the roots instead of burying them, is a better bet. However, you also need to consider the long term implications of the tree's lateral roots. It's a slow process, but if you feel that the tree may eventually pose a risk to your property, tree removal may be the most appropriate option.
Lateral roots growing above ground might look nice, but it's important to take action before they grow to a point where they can damage your property. To learn more, contact a tree removal company.