Twisting, turning, gnarled roots. While they are visually interesting to the untrained eye, tree roots that become compressed, or “girdled”, can cause stress to trees. Like wearing a belt that is too tight, girdling roots choke the tree, causing damage if left untreated,
While girdling roots are not uncommon, they should be prevented and treated.
Causes Of Girdling Roots
Girdling roots don’t just “happen” in trees. The tree has to be exposed to certain conditions that it normally doesn’t have to contend with, especially when in an urban environment.
- Growing trees in containers for too long.
- Planting in areas with high soil compaction
- Planting in areas with obstructions like foundations or pieces of the planting container
When the roots are girdled for more than two years they cannot be straightened or loosened, as they will have become woody.
Girdling Roots Can Harm Your Trees
Girdling roots can cut off the flow of water and nutrients to the tree, as well as weaken and compress the trunk. This can lead to decline, though the process may be slow. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as:
- Roots circling the base of the tree
- Abnormal trunk flare
- A narrower than normal trunk
Preventing Girdling Roots
To prevent girdling roots, plant your trees correctly and do not allow them to grow for too long in a pot. When they are removed from their container to be planted, gently loosen the roots before planting to prevent girdling
Contact An ISA-Certified Arborist From Hansen’s Tree Service
If you tree roots are girdled, there is not much that can be done about them other than removal and ongoing care. An ISA-certified arborist from Hansen’s Tree Service will inspect the girdling and determine the best method of treatment.