LESLIE: Rose in New Jersey is on the line and she has a very busy tree that’s causing lots of problems with roots, and she’s deciding if it’s the right time for cutting down tree.
What’s going on, Rose?
ROSE: Well, the tree, the roots are ruining the lawn. And they suggest I have the tree taken down. But it’s so beautiful I don’t want to take it down. So they’re suggesting I wait until September and have topsoil put down. And I was just wondering, what do you think I should do?
TOM: Well, I mean they’re correct. You have to know when it’s the right time for cutting down tree. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. You can’t trim back the roots. You can trim back other things on a tree but you can’t trim back the roots. So, you have to either cover those roots with more topsoil or wood chips or anything else, depending on how you – what you want it to look like. Or you’ve got to say bye-bye to the tree.
It’s funny you mention this because just today, I had to take out a big maple tree in my yard, which I was really sad about because I love the tree, but now was the right time for cutting down tree. It was just dying from the inside and it was getting dangerous. And so the tree company I hired ground out the stump for me and left about 6 inches or 8 inches of wood chips sort of flush with the soil. So I had to – I took three barrels – wheelbarrows – of wood chips out of this hole, filled it all with topsoil and planted seed. That was my project for today.
So, I do feel your pain. If you love this tree, you want to save it, you’re going to have to put up with those roots and you’re going to have to cover it. And if you’re – if they’re telling you to wait until September so the grass grows – but the other thing is if you’ve got a big tree, you’re going to have a hard time getting the grass to grow. So, you might want to think of another type of plant – a shade plant – that could sustain itself there. Because right under that tree, it’s not going to be easy for the grass to grow.
ROSE: Oh. Because the tree is so big. It’s about 25 years old. Beautiful tree.
TOM: Yeah. Well, then just keep it and enjoy it. Deal with the roots. You’re going to have to cover it with something.
ROSE: So you think I ought to have the topsoil put down and have it reseeded?
TOM: Well, you can do that but like I said, I don’t know that you’re going to get much grass to grow under a big, old tree. The sun can’t get there. So you might want to think about a shade plant, like Pachysandra, for example.
ROSE: OK. Well, thank you so much for taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome.