How do I know how far the roots extend around young trees…

I’ve got serious weeds and want to kill the grass (no chemicals) and till and start over. But I have a young ginko and Japanese maple that I need to protect.. Any good resources to help me know how shallow and wide the roots of 4 year old trees extend?



  1. 0 Votes

    A safe estimate for most trees is that the root system is typically 1.5-3 times the size of the canopy and the roots will fan out below the ground (see picture below). This includes heart roots that extend directly downward as well as absorbing roots which are closer and/or parallel to the surface.

    Specifically, ginkgos have root systems closer to the surface than other trees, so exercise caution. I read in a gardening forum that someone had a 3 year old Japanese maple that was 5 feet tall, with a 3 foot root spread (3 foot radius around the tree). Hope that helps!

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