I Have Little Tree Roots Growing Through My Yard

Updated on October 27, 2008
J.K. asks from Sugar Land, TX
6 answers

I have 4 oak trees in my front yard. They are all 17 years old. My problem is I have tiny tree roots growing through my landscaping and lawn. The roots have little leaves on them like the trees are trying to grow little trees. We cut them down but they come back in a weeks time. Does anyone know of a way to get rid of this problem without hurting the trees?

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answers from Houston on

Hi J.,
I was told that when tree roots are very close to the surface it is because they are trying to get to water. Your trees roots are sprouting little "suckers" because they are stressed. When watering a tree it is important that it be watered deeply, that way the roots will move down toward the deeper watering. Since there are also grass and plantings you may be judging the amount of needed water by the landscaping plants vigor. Since the landscape plants roots are nearer the surface they get water first. Water the trees in the evening for perhaps an hour so the heat/sun doesn't cause the water to evaporate before it can get to the lower roots. Over time--maybe a whole season--the tree roots will grow deeper as their water needs are met. If there is a street or driveway nearby, that will hold heat and make the surface water evaporate more quickly as well. Check with a tree nurseryman who might suggest fertilization or mulch requirements. HTH

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Instead of cutting them down, pull them up root & all. Little "seeds" are falling from the trees & taking root in the ground. It won't hurt your existing trees because it's not attached to the big tree's root system. Another good idea would be to pot the little seedlings & give them as gifts. Plenty of people would love to have oak trees in their yard especially if they don't have many trees. Plus you'd be giving a gift to someone that they can watch grow over the years (a particularly good gift for the birth of a baby or housewarming gift). It's not only a gift to a friend or loved one, but a gift to the earth as well. Good luck!

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answers from Odessa on

I'm not a horticulturist but it sounds like you have "suckers". My understanding, from my tree specialist, is that suckers are actual shoots that come from the root of the tree. They can also grow from the acorns (seeds) that your tree drops every year. You can have your tree specialist spray your trees to sterilize them. This will stop the trees from producing the acorns. I've had my trees sprayed about every three years and it has helped.



answers from Houston on

I have the same problem. The small tree growth is actually coming from the roots and each year there are more of them. It is driving me crazy so I am going to pay attention to your responses as well. I had someone cut the large roots in half that are growing towards the house. I had the roots cut where they were near the house (not close to the tree trunk). I did this about 3 yrs ago and it has not affected the large tree. It stood strong through the hurricane. I am hoping this will stop the roots that I can see from affecting my foundation or plumbing.



answers from Corpus Christi on

I'm wondering if you have the same thing I have. I have two large oaks in my back yard...it looks like tree roots but it isn't really the roots of the tree, it is something else.

Last year I took a clipping to Gill Nursery (Corpus Christi)...they told me it was something else and gave me some brush killer to put on the shoots as they emerge. That helped some but this year they came back with a vengeance. After all the rain earlier this year, I started pulling them out of the ground...and discovered that it was a multilayer network of root-looking vines. I finally dug down about six inches to pull them all out of an area about 10' by 10' all around one of the trees. It ended up destroying all the grass...but the tree is fine as far as I can tell (it grew like crazy this summer at least)...and now that one area, though grassless, it also free of those nasty root/vines...I plan to remove the rest after the next few good rains...then I'll plant some grass next spring.



answers from Victoria on

I was told that our tree roots growing that close to the surface ment the tree needed water. But since the roots also had bark on them it was fine. Perhaps watering them more. Good luck.

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