Getting Exposed Roots Covered Up 

The Problem

Exposed tree roots can be a big problem both for people and the tree that it has come from, which can cause several problems. For people, it is a trip hazard and unsightly. For the plant, it makes it more difficult to absorb nutrients. It also leaves softer portions of the tree exposed than usually are. Exposed parts leave the tree vulnerable to infections and infestations such as fungus or insects. Roots belong in the ground, so when they are not, it is a bad thing. Fortunately, exposure is a reasonably easy thing to fix.

What You Will Need

Which tools and materials needed to cover exposed roots vary based on the situation and what damage the roots have caused. These instructions are for raising the ground to cover exposed roots, but more in-depth retention solutions may need consideration. 


  • gardening or work gloves
  • shovel
  • rake


The materials needed depends, mostly, on where the exposed root is, and how to best reincorporate it into the ground. Ground cover plants are, often, the best selection inside of a flower bed, while sod may be a better choice in an open yard area. Other cases leave just dirt and mulch sufficient with no additional coverage at all. The project itself will tell what the best materials are. The following are only ideas.

  • garden soil
  • shredded wood mulch
  • wood chip and bark mulch
  • pine needles
  • straw
  • sod
  • ground cover plants

What To Do


Covering exposed roots is easy, but not as easy as just dumping soil over the areas where the root can be seen. To prevent damage to the root and infection, any potential contaminants must be removed from the area.

First, rake away any loose debris or natural mulch, such as fallen leaves. It is okay that this will leave the root more exposed than ever.

Next, dig in around the sides of the root. Take care not to damage the root. Loosening the soil helps add air that will make it easier for the root to thrive once it is filled in and covered.

The Fix

Then, add the garden soil to fill in the cleared area around and over the root. Be sure that the area is wide enough to create a gentle slope in the mound so that it remains covered, even if it rains.

Next, add a layer of heavy mulch. This layer needs to be thin, or it will rot the root. Applied correctly, this layer helps the root retain moisture, and also provides nutrients as it breaks down.

The next step depends on the placement of the newly raised ground. If it is a pathway or empty garden bed, a dry mulch or straw does nicely. In an open yard or field, some sod can help it blend into the surrounding area. If it is a raised retention be surrounding the tree, groundcover plans such as ferns can add a beautiful finish.

In Short

Covering up exposed roots is easy enough to do, and it is good for the tree and the people around it. The project only takes a few tools that most people already have access to and a few hours. It may take a good deal of work, but it is relatively easy and work that anybody can do. Getting the project done can be a DIY project simple as a call to the local lawn service company.