Avoid mowing over aerial tree roots.

How to Mow Around a Tree

by Jaimie Zinski

Mowing the lawn is a potentially exhausting, time-consuming experience that many homeowners dread. However, the chore becomes even more labor-intensive when you add impediments to the mix, including trees. According to the University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program, the damage inflicted by mowers and other electric trimming equipment is potentially deadly to your trees. Help keep your trees strong, and your lawn looking amazing, by manually eliminating the grass around your trees.

Mow the lawn as you normally would, but stop once you notice any aerial roots or low branches that impede your ability to use your push or riding mower. Hitting the roots with your mower will cause damage that leaves the tree susceptible to disease.

Mow around the tree slowly, paying attention to keep the blades within 1 to 1 1/2 feet away from the trunk. Avoid hitting any aerial roots with the mower. If the aerial roots are abundant, give the tree a wider berth.

Pick up any sticks, twigs or other debris from around the tree's trunk, or get your kids involved in the outdoor activity by putting them in charge of this task. Removing any impediments provides greater access to the area, which allows for a more polished finished look.

Trim away the grass surrounding or contacting the tree trunk with grass shears, being careful to avoid nicking or injuring the tree. Ask your kids to step away to prevent injury. Continue until the grass is cut around the tree to a height of between 1 to 2 inches.

Items you will need

  • Grass shears


  • Spreading a thin layer of mulch around the base of the tree is not only attractive, it also helps prevent the growth of weeds and grass around the tree, cutting down on your lawn maintenance time. Keep the mulch 2 to 4 inches away from the trunk to help prevent too much moisture from leading to rot.

About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images