Q. Can I cut dogwood tree roots?

We live in Center City, Philadelphia and are planing to refinish our backyard. My neighbor has a huge dogwood tree about 40 feet tall right at his fence and some large roots have rooted under the bricks into our backyard, the process will require us to pour 4" of concrete and we are required to cut roots that are about 2 feet away from the trees base.

We do not want to kill the tree so the question is " Can we cut the root of a dogwood tree" ?


Dear Homeowner:  There are several issues that you should consider.  If you are cutting only one large root, the tree will probably be okay, particularly if the cut is a clean cut with no jagged edges (this aids in the root healing.)  If you are cutting several of the main roots, you could be damaging or weakening the tree.  Second, by putting a 4" concrete pad over the area near the tree, you will be essentially cutting off water and air to the roots that are underneath.  That will adversely affect the tree also.  Have you considered simply resetting the existing bricks on a bed of sand.  This will allow some air and water to still enter the soil and thus supply the tree.  I am afraid that whatever you do, the tree may be stressed.  Care should be taken to pamper the tree for several years (particularly watering) after the work.  This is an excellent question!  I am pleased that you are concerned about your neighbor's tree which I am sure you are also able to enjoy.  

  • Last Updated Jan 08, 2019
  • Views 173
  • Answered By Aska Gardener

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