Is It Ok To Leave Tree Roots In The Ground?

Is It Ok To Leave Tree Roots In The Ground?

Leaving tree roots in the ground after a tree has been removed can be acceptable in many situations, but the decision depends on various factors, including the reason for tree removal, the species of the tree, and future landscaping plans.

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind…

Pros of Leaving Roots in the Ground

  • Natural Decomposition – Over time, tree roots will naturally decompose, adding nutrients back into the soil. This process can support the health of the surrounding soil ecosystem.
  • Less Landscape Disturbance – Removing large roots can cause significant disturbance to your yard or garden, potentially harming nearby plants. Leaving the roots to decompose naturally avoids this disruption.
  • Cost-Effective – Root removal, especially for large trees, can be labor-intensive and costly. If the roots are not causing problems, leaving them in place can save money.

Cons of Leaving Roots in the Ground

  • Potential for New Growth – Some trees can sprout new growth from remaining roots, which might require ongoing management to prevent unwanted trees from growing back.
  • Pests and Diseases – Decomposing roots can sometimes attract pests or harbor diseases that could spread to other plants.
  • Obstruction – Leftover roots can interfere with replanting in the same area or with future landscaping plans, such as installing a new pathway, garden bed, or construction projects requiring digging.


  • Type of Tree – Some species are more likely to resprout from remaining roots than others. Research your tree species to understand its behavior after cutting.
  • Location – If the tree was removed due to disease, you might want to remove the roots to prevent the disease from spreading. If the roots are close to structures or utility lines, leaving them might pose future risks as they decompose.
  • Future Plans – Consider what you intend to do with the area. If you plan extensive landscaping that requires a clear, root-free space, removing the roots might be necessary.


In many cases, leaving tree roots in the ground is an acceptable and even beneficial choice, especially if they are not causing any immediate problems. Weigh the pros and cons based on your specific circumstances and long-term plans for the area. If you decide to leave the roots in place, monitoring the site for any issues that arise over time is a good practice.