What To Do About Girdling Tree Roots on Your Holliston, MA Property

Proper tree maintenance can help you avoid issues like girdling roots, which can compromise tree health. But what do you do when you already have the problem?

In this blog post, Brooke Tree Service, trusted tree specialists in Holliston, take a deeper look into the issue of girdling tree roots and how you can tackle them. 

girdling tree roots

What Are Girdling Tree Roots?

Girdling is common in urban forestry and occurs when something tightly wraps around a tree’s trunk or stem. Girdling roots will circle or partially circle the base of your tree at or just beneath the soil surface. It’s like your tree strangling itself with its roots.

When this happens, it results in inefficient flow of nutrients and water between the tree roots and branches. Also, the food manufactured in the leaves may not reach the roots. 

Girdling roots can also squeeze your tree’s trunk, weakening and causing it to lean. These roots may also strangle other roots, leading to root damage.

But what causes girdling tree roots?

Poor planting or transplanting practices are the leading cause. If you leave your trees in their nursery containers for extended periods, the roots can grow too long and end up wrapping themselves at the bottom of the container. If you don’t loosen such roots when planting the tree, they often become girdling roots.

Planting a tree in a small hole can also lead to girdling. The roots will start circling each other and eventually become girdling roots. 

If you have no idea how to spot girdling tree roots, look out for the following tell-tale signs:

  • Unusually small leaf size
  • Early fall color and premature leaf drop
  • Large, dead, leafless branches
  • The crown appears thin and generally stunted 
  • Tree leaning on one side

It’s worth noting that most of these symptoms may indicate other issues like malnutrition and dehydration. It pays to hire a certified professional to inspect your tree root system and the trunk to determine if you have girdling roots. 

How To Deal With Girdling Tree Roots

You can prevent girdling roots by digging a properly sized hole to plant your tree. Ensure the hole is about three times as wide as the root ball and as deep as the root ball. Keep soil below the root flare and mulch away from the trunk. 

If you have roots circling the base of the root ball, loosen them before planting the tree to encourage normal growth. 

Root pruning can also help remove or prevent girdling roots. However, it’s best to leave this task to a certified arboriculture specialist to avoid damaging your tree’s stem and roots. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

If you need help with girdling tree roots, talk to the professionals at Brooke Tree Service. We deliver the highest quality tree services at competitive prices. Our wide range of services include:

  • Tree planting
  • Tree removal
  • Tree trimming & tree pruning

Contact us at (508) 613-5044 to request an estimate or to learn about the right way to remove tree roots in Holliston, MA.


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