The Root of Your Tree’s Problem? Could be its roots!
August 2, 2016
Do you have a tree in decline? Often when a you notice a tree’s leaves yellowing, curling or defoliating, or large branches dropping, your first response is to look up to see what’s wrong. An experienced arborist, on the other hand, often looks down... to the roots below the soil surface to diagnose the real problem. It’s often what we don’t see that is the culprit behind the decline of our beloved trees.
When roots are weakened, diseased or compressed, they are unable to take up enough water and nutrients to stabilize the tree firmly, the tree can topple over completely with little to no warning. Urban life is tough on trees; there are any number of factors which can cause tree root damage every day. Soil compaction, construction, paving of sidewalks and driveways, drought, excess rain, fungal diseases, lack of pruning...you name it!
Signs your tree’s roots are in trouble
While we always recommend getting the advice of an experienced arborist if you have concerns about your trees, there are visible signs for which you can stay on the lookout.
Decline in your tree’s canopy. This will most likely begin at the top of the canopy, but could potentially affect one side of the tree more noticeably than the other.
Has your tree begun to lean? Especially with a couple of spring’s worth of heavy rain soil heaving at the base of the tree can cause serious stability problems for large trees.
Look around your tree. Do you noticed dying, broken or rotting roots? Are they soft to the touch? This is a sure sign of root damage and decay.
Do you see fungal conks (mushrooms) growing at or near the base of the tree. This means that a fungal disease has set in and needs immediate attention from an arborist.
Remember, even though it’s the green canopy of your trees you enjoy, it’s a healthy root system which stabilizes and helps sustain them. When root damage or diseases set in, they disrupt the flow of nutrients and water needed for your tree to thrive. Significant root damage can mean the ultimate demise of your valuable shade tree.
Stay or go?
It’s important to know that by the time a professional arborist is able to diagnose a root structure problem with your tree, the problem may be too advanced. While our goal at Preservation Tree is to save your trees, sometimes there is so much root damage that your tree becomes a dangerous safety hazard. If we recommend removing your tree, know that it’s because we’re certain that death of the tree and potentially serious property damage is most likely in your future. If a tree must be removed, it’s always good to put together a replacement tree planting plan at the same time so you don’t waste valuable time getting a new tree established.
A yearly inspection by a certified arborist of all the trees on your property is a wise investment. Detecting, diagnosing and treating tree diseases and structural problems early could save you money, and your valuable trees.