Tree that wants to be a forest...

We have a lovely tree in our backyard and I am forever grateful for the shade BUT it wants to be a forest. Looking for helpful suggestions for controlling its efforts to become a forest.
This is the tree in question.
And these are the little wanna be's that spring up far and near the tree. Sometimes I can pull them with some root-appears to be a runner. Other times, they snap off. I can mow them down- doesn't do much for the barefoot experience.

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2 of 17 comments
  • Lori J Lori J on Jul 13, 2012
    I am pretty sure--left to grow (which can sometimes happen in my alley bed), it looks more and more like Daddy. I am loving the pliers--am dragging up roots in three feet stripes. They are a long, fine root and we had a nice rain last night, so guess what I have been doing this morning. Interest way to airiate (sp?) a lawn.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 14, 2012
    Pulling things out like that can be very rewarding. Enjoy!