How to Save Your Yard From Wild Elm Tree Roots
- saboteamos.info host Kevin O'Connor enlists the help of an arborist to explain why roots grow above ground and how to stop them from ruining your yard
The roots of our Siberian elm tree have run amok. They are growing mostly along the top of the soil and sending up little elm trees wherever they go. We don't want to lose the tree, but the roots and shoots are ruining our yard. What can we do? —Carol Noates, Las Vegas
I took your question to Tchukki Andersen, a board-certified master arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. Here's her advice.
"All tree roots are looking for an ideal mix of moisture and oxygen. Most find it underground, but where rain is scarce and the soil highly compacted—typical conditions in Las Vegas—roots will be happier along the surface.
"Cut off the suckers—the little trees sprouting from the roots—and spray the cuts with a growth inhibitor such as Sucker-Stopper RTU () to keep them from coming back.
"As for the roots, cover the area under the branches with about 3 to 4 inches of composted mulch. 'Composted' is important: It means the mulch has been broken down by microbes and will add fertility to the soil. So is the thickness: More than 4 inches of mulch could starve the roots of oxygen and kill the tree."
— - saboteamos.info host Kevin O'Connor