We just bought a house with an overgrown back yard. It's a small urban plot- 30' x 15' and there's a 80' Norway Spruce in the back corner. The former owners had some sort of sandy arbor in the back and piled two feet of dirt around the spruce. I'm trying to level what I can, but it means taking up a lot of soil at the base of the tree (but only a quarter of the base since it's in the corner of our property). I just got past the drip line and started running into a lot of roots. I'm worried I'll injure the tree. Can I remove the top foot of soil and sort of... let the roots lie on top? Will this injure the tree?
I've read that changing the grade can really hurt the tree. Thanks for your help! I appreciate if you add your experience so I can better understand the replies.