Exposed surface tree roots can be removed during the fall or winter months by cutting the roots in a sharp, clean method to prevent damage to the tree as a whole, according to certified arborist Kevin Bassett of Arborilogical Services Inc. Tree roots have a greater chance to regenerate provided they are removed properly at the right time of year.
Removal of more than 25 percent of the tree's root system can devastate the entire tree, Bassett states. Cutting away one or two roots probably doesn't affect the health of the overall tree. Another way to deal with surface tree roots is to landscape around them.
Covering tree roots with a bed of mulch is a viable way to protect the tree while making a yard look good, writes Steve Nix for About.com. Cutting tree roots can lead to maladies such as rot.
Another way to deal with surface tree roots includes planting grass that grows well in shaded areas or covering the roots with moss. Laying down some peat moss mixed with topsoil is a good mixture to begin growing moss at the base of trees, suggests Gardens Alive!. Fescue is one variety of grass that can handle living in the shade of tall trees.