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Norway maple thrives with a shallow heart root system that can create conflict in the garden. Home gardeners often ask themselves whether a root cut will solve the problem. This guide explains tried and tested options.

A third of the roots can be shortened

Root cut not without crown cut - How to do it right

From the fifth year a maple tree has taken root well. Most of the root strands extend just below the surface of the earth. Only a few roots reach a depth of 100 to 120 cm. The roots close to the surface leave little room for underplanting. How to solve the problem:

  • Expose and cut off a maximum of one third of the disturbing roots
  • Cover again with garden soil to the previous height and water thoroughly
  • Cut back the crown in proportion to the root mass removed

With regard to the strong sap flow that accompanies every cut on the maple tree, the measure should take place in early autumn. Choose a date in September or October with dry and overcast weather. At this point, there will be a short sap dormancy period with the leaves dropping, keeping stress levels on your maple down.

Roots under the lawn - cover them decoratively instead of cutting them

In the middle of the lawn in the front yard, a spherical maple is representative. Home gardeners often struggle with the flat roots that extend just below the surface when mowing the lawn. Anyone who reaches for the scissors to cut off disturbing roots does not yet know the following options for solving the problem:

  • Remove the turf from the tree disc in the diameter of the crown
  • Cover the free area with humus and a thin layer of bark mulch or pine bark
  • Alternatively, lay lawn grids on the tree disc

A decorative and natural solution is the underplanting of the maple. Ground covers such as foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia) or elfin flower (Epimedium rubrum) arrange themselves excellently with the roots of an Acer platanoides globosum and thrive splendidly in the semi-shade of the foliage crown.


You can save your maple from the stress of root pruning if you ensure sufficient spacing when planting. A distance of at least 200 cm is recommended for paved paths or the terrace. The distance to a wall should be 300 to 400 cm, unless the crown is trimmed regularly.

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