I have a large maple tree in my small backyard with lots of exposed surface roots. We want to install a patio and do some landscaping, which will require some grading and removal of dirt. Is it safe to cut out some of the roots? The tree is beautiful and provides a lot of shade. I don't want to loose the tree or cause it damage.

Cutting the roots will affect the health and structural stability. The closer you are to the trunk of the tree, the greater chance for damage. Changing the grade also affects the root system. Again, the closer you are to the trunk, the greater the impact. Maple trees are generally surface rooted and will push up on the patio. It might be best to consider installing a deck on a raised platform above the root system.

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