Surface roots under a cherry tree

Q: These are roots from ornamental cherry trees in my front yard. Should I cover the cherry roots with soil? They have grown this way for about 15 years! I hope to start a shade garden here. I can hardly walk without stepping on a root!

A: It is an indisputable fact that all plant roots have to have to “breathe”. They produce gases as they grow and need to get rid of them so they can keep growing.

My guess is the soil there is pretty dense. After being planted, your cherry couldn’t breathe below the surface so the roots grew on the ground surface.

It looks pretty shady under there. Are you sure anything will grow?

It might be best to put down mulch close to the trunk out to the tips of the branches and plant your garden beyond that point.

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