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Monday, March 28, 2016

Ash Roots Can Be Removed with Care

Q. I have a 15-year-old ash tree in my backyard and roots are pushing up the brick walkway. Would it hurt the tree if I took up the brick and cut the roots off before they grow under the brick? The walkway is about six feet from the tree.

A. It shouldn't be a problem that far from the tree but let me tell you how I make that determination.
I look at where water is being applied to the tree. Tree roots will grow toward water. They will grow more aggressively where there is more water and fertilizer. They grow less aggressively in and toward dry areas.
Roots of fan tex ash

At a distance of 6 feet away from the trunk there should be no problem at all unless it is getting all of its water mostly from the area where roots are being cut. If tree roots are getting water from multiple locations then there should be no problem at all if you remove these roots.
Roots of ash surfacing in a lawn

Cut the roots in that area which are growing to a depth of 12 inches. After cutting them, sanitize the cut ends of any large roots that have been cut with soap and water. Let the cut ends of the roots dry and heal for a couple of days before putting soil back around them. There are some plant diseases present in soils that can enter the tree through open wounds. Sanitizing the cut ends and letting them heal first helps prevent these diseases from entering the tree.

Backfilling around the cut ends of roots while cuts are still fresh can increase the likelihood of disease problems.

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