Arbor True CA

How to Remove Tree Roots from Lawn? [Complete Guide]

How to remove palm tree root
Share This Article

Remove Tree Roots from Lawn

Your lawn is more than just a patch of green; it’s an extension of your home and a source of pride for many homeowners. A well-maintained lawn provides a beautiful backdrop for outdoor activities, enhances the curb appeal of your property, and offers a place for relaxation and enjoyment. However, maintaining that lush, vibrant lawn can sometimes be challenging, especially when unexpected obstacles like tree roots come into play. In this Article we will learn about How to Remove Tree Roots from Lawn?

How to Remove Tree Roots from Lawn?

The purpose of this blog is to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to remove tree roots from your lawn effectively. We’ll walk you through the process step by step, offering various methods, tips, and precautions to ensure your lawn remains healthy and vibrant. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to tackle the root of the problem and restore your lawn to its former glory. So, let’s dive in and learn how to bid those unwelcome tree roots adieu!

Understanding Tree Roots

Before we delve into the removal process, it’s essential to understand the intricacies of tree roots. Trees have a complex underground structure that serves several vital functions. Here are some key points to consider:

Types of Tree Roots

Anchoring Roots: These are the larger, main roots that anchor the tree into the ground, providing stability.

Absorptive Roots: These smaller, hair-like roots are responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from the soil.

Surface Roots: Some trees, like oaks, produce roots that grow near the surface, potentially posing a greater threat to your lawn.

How Tree Roots Can Damage Your Lawn

Competition for Resources: Tree roots compete with your grass for water, nutrients, and space. This competition can weaken your lawn.

Structural Damage: As tree roots grow, they can push up sidewalks, driveways, and even the foundation of your home, leading to costly repairs.

Surface Damage: Surface roots can make your lawn uneven, making it difficult to mow and create an aesthetically pleasing landscape.

Drying Effect: Large trees can extract substantial amounts of moisture from the soil, causing your lawn to become dry and parched.

Signs of Tree Root Invasion

Detecting the presence of tree roots in your lawn early is crucial. Look out for these signs:

Uneven Terrain: If your lawn has developed humps, bumps, or depressions, it could be due to tree root growth beneath the surface.

Sparse or Dead Grass: Areas with excessive tree root growth may experience reduced grass growth or even patches of dead grass.

Visible Roots: In some cases, you might notice tree roots protruding above the ground, especially in areas with surface roots.

Understanding these aspects of tree roots will help you assess the extent of the problem and choose the most appropriate method for removal. In the next section, we’ll cover the preparations you need to make before tackling those invasive roots head-on.

Preparation to Remove Tree Roots from Lawn?

Before you start removing tree roots from your lawn, it’s essential to be well-prepared. This preparation phase not only ensures a smoother process but also helps keep you safe. Here’s what you need to do:

Gather Necessary Tools and Equipment

Shovel: A sturdy shovel is your primary tool for digging and excavating the soil around the tree roots.

Pruning Saw or Reciprocating Saw: If you plan on mechanical removal, have a pruning saw or reciprocating saw with a sharp blade handy.

Safety Gear: Safety should be a priority. Wear gloves, safety goggles, and appropriate clothing to protect yourself from cuts and debris.

Root Killer Chemicals (if using): If you opt for chemical solutions, ensure you have the right root killer chemicals on hand.

Natural Remedies (if using): If you prefer natural remedies, gather materials like mulch, barriers, or root barriers.

Garden Hose: You may need a garden hose to wash away dirt and expose the roots better.

Wheelbarrow or Tarp: These are useful for transporting soil, debris, or roots away from your work area.

Bucket or Container: Have a container for storing soil or roots if needed.

First Aid Kit: Always have a basic first aid kit nearby, just in case of minor injuries.

Safety Precautions

Call Before You Dig: Contact your local utility company to mark any underground utility lines before digging. This prevents accidents and costly repairs.

Protect Yourself: Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, safety goggles, and long sleeves, to shield yourself from potential injuries.

Watch for Wildlife: Be mindful of wildlife that may have taken refuge in the tree roots. Proceed with caution and consider relocating them if necessary.

Stay Hydrated: Tree root removal can be physically demanding. Keep a bottle of water nearby to stay hydrated.

Identifying the Tree Causing the Problem

Before you begin the removal process, identify the specific tree or trees responsible for the root invasion. This knowledge will help you target your efforts effectively. If you’re uncertain, consider consulting with an arborist or tree expert who can identify the tree species and assess its health.

By gathering the right tools, taking safety precautions, and identifying the source of the problem, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the tree root removal process. 

Assessing the Extent of Root Invasion

Before you jump into removing tree roots from your lawn, it’s crucial to assess the extent of the root invasion accurately. This step will help you determine the scope of the problem and the best approach for dealing with it. Here’s how to go about it:

Digging Test Holes

To get a better understanding of how far the tree roots have spread and their depth in the soil, you’ll need to dig test holes in your lawn:

Select Several Locations: Choose multiple locations in your lawn where you suspect root invasion is occurring or where you’ve observed signs of damage.

Dig Carefully: Use your shovel to dig holes that are about 12-18 inches deep. Be gentle when excavating to avoid damaging roots unnecessarily.

Inspect Roots: Examine the roots you encounter. Note their size, depth, and proximity to the surface. This information will help you decide on the most appropriate removal method.

Consulting with an Arborist or Tree Expert

If you’re uncertain about the extent of root invasion or want expert advice, consider reaching out to an arborist or a tree expert. They can provide valuable insights into the health of the tree, the extent of root growth, and whether removal is the best course of action. An arborist’s assessment can also help you avoid unintentional harm to the tree or your lawn.

Determining the Health of the Tree

Assessing the tree’s health is essential before proceeding with root removal:

Is the Tree Healthy? If the tree is diseased, dying, or already in poor health, removing its roots may be a more viable option. Healthy trees, especially those with significant ecological or aesthetic value, may warrant alternative solutions.

Consider the Impact: Removing tree roots can stress the tree and may lead to its decline or eventual removal. Weigh the consequences and decide if root removal is the best solution or if other methods, such as barrier installation or root pruning, might be more appropriate.

Methods for Removing Tree Roots

Now that you’ve assessed the extent of root invasion and understand the type of tree roots you’re dealing with, it’s time to explore the methods available for removing tree roots from your lawn. We’ll cover various approaches, each with its own set of considerations, tools, and techniques:

Hand Digging

Step-by-step Instructions:

  • Clear the Area: Remove any grass, mulch, or debris covering the root area.
  • Use a Shovel: Start by digging a trench around the tree root. Dig carefully to avoid damaging nearby roots.
  • Expose the Root: As you dig deeper, expose the root you want to remove.
  • Cut the Root: Use pruners or a root saw to cut the root cleanly. Ensure you cut it as close to the tree as possible.
  • Remove the Root: Once cut, carefully extract the root from the trench.
  • Fill the Hole: Fill the trench with soil, tamp it down, and replace any grass or mulch.
  • Tools Needed: Shovel, pruners or root saw, safety gear, wheelbarrow or tarp, and soil for filling.

Repairing Your Lawn

After successfully removing tree roots from your lawn, it’s time to shift your focus to the recovery phase. This step is crucial to ensure that your lawn regains its health and beauty. Here’s how to go about repairing your lawn:

Filling in the Holes Left by Root Removal

Assess the Damage: Examine the areas where you removed tree roots. You may find holes or depressions in the ground.

Backfill with Soil: Use good-quality topsoil or a mixture of soil and compost to fill in these holes. Ensure that the soil level matches the surrounding lawn.

Tamp Down: Gently compact the soil to prevent settling. You can use a tamper or simply walk over the filled area.

Water Thoroughly: After backfilling, water the soil thoroughly to settle it in place and remove any air pockets.

Reseeding or Sodding Damaged Areas

Reseeding: If you have patches of dead or damaged grass, consider reseeding those areas. Follow these steps:

  • Prepare the soil by loosening it with a rake.
  • Spread grass seed evenly over the prepared area.
  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil or compost.
  • Water regularly to keep the soil consistently moist until the new grass establishes itself.

Sodding: For larger areas or faster results, you can opt for sod installation:

  • Remove the dead grass and any debris from the area.
  • Lay down fresh sod, ensuring the seams are staggered for a seamless appearance.
  • Water the newly laid sod thoroughly.

Lawn Care Tips to Promote Recovery

Regular Watering: Maintain a consistent watering schedule for your lawn. Adequate hydration is essential for grass recovery.

Fertilize: Apply a balanced fertilizer to provide essential nutrients that support grass growth.

Mowing: Keep your lawn at the recommended height for your grass type. Avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blade at a time.

Aerate: If your soil is compacted, consider aerating your lawn to improve water and nutrient penetration.

Weed Control: Keep an eye out for weeds in the affected areas and address them promptly.

Patience: Recovery takes time, so be patient and monitor the progress of your lawn regularly.

Preserving Your Lawn’s Health for the Long Term

You’ve successfully removed tree roots from your lawn and nursed it back to health. Now, it’s essential to implement preventive measures to keep your lawn root-free in the future. Here are some strategies to ensure the long-term well-being of your lawn:

Choose the Right Tree Species for Your Lawn

Research Tree Varieties: Before planting a tree on your property, research the potential growth patterns and root systems of different tree species. Choose trees that are less likely to cause problems for your lawn.

Consider Size: Pay attention to the mature size of the tree. Smaller trees or those with non-invasive root systems are preferable near lawns.

Proper Tree Planting Techniques

Plant at the Right Distance: When planting trees near your lawn, make sure to follow recommended spacing guidelines to prevent future root conflicts.

Use Root Barriers: Consider installing root barriers or physical barriers between the tree and your lawn. These barriers redirect root growth away from the lawn area.

Regular Maintenance to Monitor Root Growth

Inspect Your Lawn: Periodically inspect your lawn for signs of root invasion, such as uneven ground, dead patches, or visible roots.

Root Pruning: If you notice roots encroaching into your lawn again, consider root pruning. Pruning involves cutting and redirecting the roots to prevent further damage.

Maintain Adequate Watering: Proper watering techniques can help maintain a healthy lawn and deter shallow root growth. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage grass roots to grow deeper.

Consult Professionals: When in doubt or if you notice significant issues, consult with an arborist or tree expert to assess the situation and recommend appropriate solutions.

Regular Lawn Care

Fertilize and Aerate: Regularly fertilize and aerate your lawn to promote strong root growth and overall lawn health.

Mowing and Weeding: Keep up with routine mowing and weed control to prevent weeds from competing with your grass.

By implementing these preventive measures and staying vigilant about the health of your lawn, you can reduce the likelihood of future tree root invasion and maintain a vibrant, root-free lawn for years to come. A proactive approach to lawn care will keep your outdoor space looking its best and provide a welcoming environment for outdoor activities and relaxation.


Congratulations! You’ve now completed your journey to remove tree roots from your lawn and have taken steps to ensure its long-term health and vitality. As you wrap up this comprehensive guide, let’s recap the key takeaways and emphasize the importance of maintaining a beautiful and root-free lawn: Remember that a proactive approach to lawn care, including regular inspections and preventive measures, is the key to preserving the health and beauty of your outdoor space. Whether you’re planning to plant new trees or have already addressed root invasion, the knowledge and techniques you’ve gained from this guide will serve you well in maintaining a beautiful, root-free lawn. Thank you for reading, and here’s to many years of enjoying your lush, vibrant, and root-free lawn!

Share This Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles