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'Secondary ?' Root growth removal


I am in the process of removing soil and rubble which had been heaped up around the base of a mature whitebeam several years ago.
This has revealed what appears to be 'secondary' root growth. The attached image shows the current state of play - I have yet to get down to the original ground level.
The tree appears to be in good health and is around 50 years old.

Will removing these roots harm the tree?



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My concern would be that the original rooting system has asphyxiated / died off because of the raised ground levels and the 'new' roots are sustaining the tree :/ 


Can you construct a raised bed and retain them maybe


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3 hours ago, GrahamFramhii said:

Will removing these roots harm the tree?

Definitely. However, assessing the degree of harm, and the impact on the tree is a bit of a guessing game.


You have a few options. Continue to excavate cutting roots as you go until you reach the desired level. Continue to excavate leaving the roots until you reach the desired level, then assess the extent of the root loss and the impact on the tree if you were to remove them. (Keep the exposed roots covered in damp hesian as you proceed). Remove the tree and plant a replacement. Or as Paul says, build a raised bed, which is probably the best option.

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