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Trees/Mahogany roots


Tree roots visible
Tree roots visible  
Tree roots out
Tree roots out  

There's a West Indies Mahogany which roots are, pretty noticeably, sticking out of the soil, in the surface (pics attached). It's been getting worse with time. 3 years ago they were not so visible. Is this bad? What may be causing it? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.



ANSWER: West Indies mahogany does have roots that grow near the surface of the soil. Unless you have a sidewalk, driveway or such within 10 feet of the tree the roots should not be a problem. IF the above roots become a problem you can put sand over the roots but do not put more than a couple of inches of sand covering the exposed roots. Not really a problem in most cases.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Jim,

Thank you Jim. Yes, the sidewalk is like 5 or 6 ft away, and the driveway is about 6 ft. Maybe I should cut (only the root that goes towards the sidewalk and the driveway) close to the concrete?

Best regards,


You can do that I would cut them near the driveway that would take the least amount of roots out. You can cut up to 1/4 of the roots without severely damaging the tree. This is calculated by going out from the trunk to the ends of the branch overhang and then go around the tree marking what is called the drip line. Then you can determine how much of the will be cut and calculate the roots area cut. I would not think you will have very much cut so I can not see where cutting the roots along the drive will harm the tree. There are root barriers that can be placed along drives to turn the roots back. Here is a link to some of these barriers. These are plastic strips that are placed along the drive. Check with your local nursery store for these.


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Jim Hyland


I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.


34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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