What Should I Do If My Tree Roots Are Damaged?

Whether from damage from construction, digging in the garden, or from salt damage in winter, root damage should be taken seriously. It can negatively affect the health of your trees if not properly taken care of.

Up Next: 5 Common Tree Diseases & How To Protect Your Trees

While most trees will survive damage to their roots, if the damage is extensive extra care will be needed to help save the tree. When your tree’s roots experience damage, consult a tree care specialist like Hansen’s Tree Service for next steps.

Keep An Eye On SymptomsRoot - Tree

When a tree’s roots are damaged, critical functions of the tree’s system are disrupted. As such, it can exhibit a variety of visual symptoms to indicate that something is wrong. Symptoms of damage to your tree roots include:

  • Leaf wilting & dropping
  • Twig and branch dieback
  • Poor growth
  • Leaning

Make Sure The Tree Gets Enough Water

If your tree’s roots are damaged and the tree is not getting enough water, then it will not be able to get enough nutrients to recover and grow back. Give your tree a thorough soaking, especially if the season has been dry, so its roots can better take up nutrients from the soil.

Before watering, test the dryness of the soil with a screwdriver and if it comes out dry the tree could use a watering. Be sure not to overwater, as it can cause more harm than good in the form of rot. Do not allow the water to pool. Overwatering can also increase the likelihood of failure if the tree already exhibits a lean. Saturated soils allow roots to “slip” in the soil instead of being anchored to the soil.

Aerate The Roots

When damage to the roots occur—especially if the soil has been compacted—you will need to aerate the soil. Improved soil aeration allows for water, air, and nutrients to better reach the roots of your trees. It also alleviates soil compaction. Improving aeration can be difficult and requires drilling small diameter holes in the soil under the tree canopy, or using a powerful tool that loosens soil with compressed air.

Apply Organic Material, Including Mulch or Compost

Organic materials like mulch and compost is a great way to improve tree health. Mulch will reduce swings in soil temperature and moisture and adds organic material to benefit soil health. It is typically added to the soil surface and also acts to improve a landscape appearance. Compost will improve soil quality by adding nutrition and improving the soil structure.  Apply the mulch correctly to prevent further damage to your tree.

You can order 100% organic mulch online or over the phone at 636.379.1830 from Hansen’s Tree Service.

Provide The Tree With Support

Because a tree can lean and weaken with damaged roots, the tree may need extra support through dynamic tree cabling and limb support. Your attending ISA certified arborist will inspect the tree to determine if cabling and support is needed. If the tree is dying, your arborist may recommend removal instead.

Take Control Of Your Tree’s Health

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