Trimming Sod Around Trees: There’s No Need to Struggle!

Trimming sod around trees can be difficult. A lot of older trees have quite a few exposed roots, which means the sod has to be cut into unique shapes. Some people try to take shortcuts when trimming sod around trees by laying sod over the roots. This is not the way to go, and will end up damaging or killing your trees. There are a couple of tricks you can use to ensure the safety of your tree as well as achieving a beautifully sodded lawn.

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Trimming Around Trees

There are a few issues you could come across when sodding under trees. To learn a bit more about those check out our Successfully Growing Grass under Trees Guide. You need to be careful when sodding to not cover any of the exposed tree roots. If you cover the exposed roots with topsoil and then sod over them, the roots cannot get the air they need to survive. If you don’t enjoy the look of the roots, you can instead sod in a circular shape around the tree.

A quick and easy way to create a perfect circle around a tree is to use string. Lay down your sod, and tie a long piece of string around the tree trunk. Stretch the string tight, and mark the ground around in a circular shape wherever the string reaches. This ensures you create a perfect circle, as the string will measure the same distance from the tree in every spot it reaches. Cut the sod along the marked areas with a sharp knife. Apply a thin layer of mulch over top of the circle, and you won’t have to look at the roots! Don’t mulch too thickly as the roots do need adequate air to survive!

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Sodding Around Exposed Roots

If you don’t want a ring of mulch around your tree, you can also sod around the existing roots. An easy way to do this is to lay the sod overtop of the roots, and mark the sod around the roots underneath. This way you will have almost no gaps between the roots and the fresh sod! This will create a nice, clean look. If it is a young tree with no exposed roots, simply leave an inch or so between the sod and the trunk. ‘

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Sod installed around trees can be beautiful if done correctly! With the help of some string and a little bit of mulch, your lawn will look polished and clean. Using the string is an easy way to create an even circle around your trees. Save yourself some time and frustration and use the string method to ensure even circles! Trimming sod around trees doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow our easy steps!

2 Responses

  1. Elitehort says:

    Hi there, Great tips by the way and thank you. I did have a question though.
    I’m hoping you can answer it for me since you seem to be pretty
    knowledgeable about gardening. Can you use regular pine boards for a raised garden bed?
    If you had some insight I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Thanks for reaching out Sadie!

      Untreated pine boards will be perfect for your raised bed! Some people stick to cedar because of the pleasant aroma, but as long as you don’t use any pressure treated wood your garden bed will be fantastic 🙂

      All the best and happy gardening,


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