If the bumps caused by tree roots are reasonably close to the tree, it might be best to reach a compromise with your leafy friend and implement or expand a mulch bed around it. The mulch will cover the root lump, forming a smooth gradient from the tree down to your grass.
Unfortunately, this means you’ll be sacrificing a bit of lawn space, but at least you’ll be able to cut the remaining grass without worrying about crashing into roots and blunting your mower’s blades.
It saddens me to say, but the only alternative is to pick a side. Do you want a nice, level lawn, or do you want the tree? I know, I know…you want both, right? I’ve been in a similar situation before, but I’m afraid it has to be one or the other.
If you picked option A: a nice even lawn, fire up your chainsaw, because that tree has to come down. Once you’ve cut it down to size, it’s time to deal with those meddling surface roots by grinding them away.
I’d recommend using something along the lines of this DEWALT grinder fitted with a masonry grinding wheel. Those surface roots can be some tough customers, but this setup will make short work of them.
My advice is to grind them as deep below lawn level as possible in order to give your grass the best chance of thriving when you fill in the void with top dressing and overseed.
No one enjoys harming trees, but the silver linings here are that a small patch of lawn is easier and cheaper to maintain than a tree, and now you have years of firewood for free.
Just make sure you don’t make the same mistake I made when cutting down trees in my backyard. I cut so much down that I couldn’t fit the refuse in my wood store, and two-thirds of it rotted out when the wet seasons came around — I lost a lot of good wood that year.
You could also fill that tree-shaped void in your yard and soul simply by planting a new one. The problem with your current tree is that it roots invasively, meaning that its roots are shallow and fast-growing, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are plenty of species out there that exhibit non-invasive tendencies. The Japanese Maple, for instance, is a very lawn-friendly tree, as are Dwarf Korean Lilacs (bees go bananas for this species), Magnolia trees, Crabapple trees, and Kousa Dogwood trees.
Hi, Alex Kuritz here. Growing up I remember that my family had one of the best lawns in the neighborhood. Richly green and lush. I did a lot as I grew up in terms of caring and tending for not only my family’s lawn but also my neighbors. I can say I have years of experience, and I am here to share it with you.