November 17

Trees With Roots That Don’t Cause Problems



Tree roots can be extremely problematic for any homeowner. They can be obtrusive, moving their way through the ground and destroying anything in their way. They can be cumbersome, stopping you from installing water features, having work done, or even mowing your lawn. Sometimes, they are even dangerous – almost all of us have a root that sticks out of the ground and we end up tripping over it.

Tree roots are also vitally important. However, many people are looking to plant trees that don’t have extensive root systems. If this is you, here are a few that you might want to consider for your backyard planting:

4. Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

Cornelian cherry
Credit: Melissa McMasters
  • Easy to grow
  • Can be groomed to fit different spaces
  • Beautiful for any space

The cornelian cherry dogwood is a plant that is quite slow-growing and can be changed to fit certain yard patterns quite easily. you can choose whether to grow it as a small tree or as a larger shrub. For many people, this is a choice decorative tree because it has bunches of delicate yellow flowers that add color and beauty to any yard.

According to the Morton Arboretum, this tree has no serious problems and doesn’t tend to attract pests. The flowers don’t have much pollen, but they will attract bees in the early spring. The tree will eventually grow to be 20 to 25 feet, or you can keep it smaller with regular trimming.

It is very important to keep this tree watered and ensure that it is healthy. However, you do not have to worry about the root systems being invasive as they are quite small and tend to go down instead of going outwards.

3. Amur Maple 

Amur maple
Credit: FD Richards
  • Absolutely beautiful tree
  • Check to ensure that it is safe for your area
  • On the smaller side

One of the most beautiful trees and one of the shallower root systems, the amur maple is known for its fall colors. There are many different “shades” that you can choose from, but know that they aren’t always going to be accurate as the tree grows. This small tree will most likely be orange or red with different shades throughout.

Many times when people want shallow root systems, it is because they live in urban areas, which this tree is perfect for because it is hardy and can stand shade, drought, and salt.

According to The Spruce, “The Amur maple tree has the potential to be invasive depending on the area. You may want to check in with your local extension office to see the tree’s status in your state.” If you do decide to plant this beautiful tree, you just need to make sure that there aren’t too many saplings around or you will deal with a pretty substantial root system anyway.

2. Skyrocket Juniper

Skyrocket juniper
Credit: USDA
  • Great for those who don’t want to do a lot of yard work
  • Perfect for narrow spaces
  • Extremely durable

An extremely tall, skinny tree, the roots under the ground resemble the tree itself – they go deeper, but they aren’t invasive and won’t spread out. This tree has been the number one choice of many landscapers because it is easy to control, easy to trim, and even easier to just let be. If you are the type of person who doesn’t like to do a lot to your trees, this is a great option for you.

Another thing to note is that there isn’t a great deal of debris for this tree, making it an easy one to clean up after in the spring and fall.

According to Monrovia, “Stately, columnar form makes this likely the narrowest juniper available – so narrow and upright, in fact, it resembles a skyrocket! A durable and versatile evergreen with beautiful bluish green foliage, it works well grouped to form a colorful screen, or singly as a garden accent in a mixture of conifers. Requires very little care, once established.”

1.  Adams Crabapple

Credit: Vicky Brock
  • Beautiful spring floral
  • Smaller tree
  • Produces fruit

A beautiful tree, the Adams crabapple is a great choice for anyone who wants a tree that will flower in the spring but doesn’t want to do a lot of work with it. A vibrant burgundy-colored flower, it is hardy and the spring flowers tend to last longer than many others. One great fact is that is notably resistant to some of the most common apple tree diseases, like fire blight and scorch. This doesn’t mean that the root system is huge though – instead, it is quite shallow and doesn’t tend to come out of the ground.

The tree does need some sunlight and water, but most people won’t have to put too much work into it. They also get to be a medium size in height, though you can do some trimming to keep the umbrella at bay.

According to The Tree Farm, the fruit of the Adams crabapple tree is perfect for those who enjoy birdwatching. Birds will flock to the tree and eat the fruit, but the fruit itself doesn’t stain or make a mess like some others do.

Some trees work better in some yards than they do in others. If you are interested in planting a tree in your yard and aren’t sure where to put it or what kind of tree to get, contact a tree care professional with all of your questions.

Contact Menchhofer Tree Care for all of your tree care needs – we can help you at any stage of the tree process, from planting and taking care of your tree to pruning and cutting it down – and of course, watering your trees. If you are having trouble making mulching decisions, we can also be there to help you with laying mulch, finding the right mulch for you, and even cleaning up if the mulch doesn’t work.

Call us today at 317-661-4240.

Header photo courtesy of  Zsolt Palatinus on Flickr!

Menchhofer Tree Care

About Steve Menchhofer

Steve Menchhofer has been caring for the trees of the Indianapolis, Indiana metro area for over 40 years. Steve and his team of experienced, certified arborists are members of the International Society of Arboriculture and the Indiana Arborist Association.

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