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How To Stop Tree Roots From Growing Back

Have you recently removed tree roots from your yard? You’re probably wondering how to stop tree roots from growing back. 

As Nashville’s trusted tree service, Tree Care Inc. can give you expert advice for preventing roots from returning. From expertly removing tree roots to maintaining tree health, you’ll love the results.

The Purpose of Tree Roots

Before you consider removing tree roots, you should understand the important role they play for your tree. Many people think they only serve to suck up water from the ground, and that’s true of the smaller roots. However, the larger roots play an essential role in stabilizing the tree and preventing it from falling over.

Responsibly Removing Tree Roots

In general, tree experts prefer to protect tree roots rather than remove them. Removing an essential tree root can cause more problems than it solves, as it can leave your tree unhealthy or unstable and at risk of falling over.

Never attempt to remove roots yourself. A certified arborist can determine which roots you can responsibly remove and give you advice about preventing them from growing back.

Look for the following signs you’d benefit from removing tree roots:

  • The roots are damaging a structure in your yard, such as your foundation or sewer line.
  • You’ve removed a tree but left the stump.
  • The roots look dead or show signs of disease.
  • The roots encroach on other plants, preventing them from growing properly.

Effectively Removing the Roots

If you don’t want your roots growing back, remove them using one of the following techniques and then properly care for the space they came from. Tree Care Inc. decides which method to use based on the situation.

Dig Them Out

The most basic technique for the physical removal of tree roots involves digging them out with a shovel. This process requires a significant amount of work and time. However, it remains the most common method because it works. 

We use the following process to remove roots with a shovel:

  1. Dig a trench around the stump while staying vigilant about any buried utilities.
  2. We use a pry bar to loosen the roots while they’re still in the ground.
  3. Using a mattock or shovel, we remove the roots.

Use a Saw

Cutting with sharp tools is an effective method of removing them, but it also poses more significant safety risks. We start by removing the dirt around the root, then make a sharp cut through the root with pruning shears or a sharp knife. Finally, we use a saw to remove the rest of the root at its thickest point. 

Burn Them

To prevent roots from growing back, consider burning with heat. You should never use this technique yourself because, without proper training, you risk the fire spreading. This option requires the roots to remain dry for several months after you cut them but before we set them on fire.

We’ll clear all leaves and other loose debris from the area to reduce the risk of spreading. We slowly burn the root to char the surface before removing it completely.

Use Herbicide

If you’re wondering how to stop tree roots from growing back, consider applying herbicides. This method can damage surrounding plant life, so it’s another technique that requires experience and training. 

Many herbicides only target specific plants, so we tailor which one we use based on the situation. You also need meticulous application because with this method, leaving even a single piece of root allows it to grow back.

how to stop tree roots from growing back

Preventing Roots From Returning

Once you’ve successfully removed roots, you can use the following techniques to prevent them from growing back.

Properly Fill the Hole

The first step begins with properly filling the hole. You must fill it in to prevent your tree from becoming structurally unsound, but certain materials prevent roots from growing back better than others. 

You can fill it with rocks, which obstruct the root from growing due to lack of adequate soil. You can also fill the hole with concrete, though this requires a larger investment. Both options prevent roots from growing back better than filling the hole with soil.

Cover the Area

Once you properly fill the hole, consider planting ground cover with grass or flowers. The ground cover provides several benefits, such as:

  • Holding the soil in place to prevent soil erosion
  • Regulating moisture levels
  • Preventing weed growth
  • Protecting the soil from the sun

All these benefits help prevent the roots from growing back.

Install a Root Barrier

A root barrier offers an environmentally friendly way of stopping root invasion. You’ll most often see them protecting foundations and structures from crumbling due to roots. 

The most frequent materials we use for root barriers include plastic, metal, and concrete. The type we use depends on the location and specific situation.

Preparing for Tree Root Removal

How can you prepare for removing tree roots? After you schedule a consultation, we’ll visit your property to determine whether we must remove roots or find an alternate solution to your issue. We’ll develop a clear plan to solve the issue and give you an upfront quote so you can make an informed decision.

Before we arrive, ensure we have ample room to work. Clear the area around your tree of any vehicles or other belongings we could accidentally damage during the process. As a matter of courtesy, alert your neighbors we’ll be arriving, though we shouldn’t cause much disturbance.

We don’t require your presence while we work, but if you’re not home, ensure you’ve safely secured your pets indoors and that they can’t escape. If you are home, keep your children inside.

Rely on Tree Care Inc. for Permanent Root Removal

Now that you know how to stop tree roots from growing back, you can ensure you find the right company for the job. Tree Care Inc. remains dedicated to providing superior tree care service. From determining when a tree is dying to responsibly removing roots in your yard, we always work with professionalism and efficiency.

You can obtain a free estimate online or by calling (615) 316-5166.


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