Understanding Tree Roots and How to Remove Them
The first thing you should probably do is call an arborist in Edmonton. Why? Because indiscriminate tree root removal can lead to trees dying or toppling over in a windstorm—neither of which is ideal!
How deep do tree roots grow?
There are variations between species, but as a rule, most tree roots are found within 40 to 60 cm of the soil surface—which is where the water and oxygen are. The roots can spread two to three times further out than the canopy—that’s a lot of roots! Frost heaving can expose roots which can become a tripping or mowing hazard. The best option is to mulch around the tree. If mulching is not possible, then you can cover the problem roots with a topsoil/compost mix, but never more than 5 cm thick a year. Remove the roots only as a last resort and follow the guidelines below.
What kind of damage can tree roots cause?
Tree roots are often blamed for broken pipes, pavement and foundations—an arborist in Edmonton will tell you that roots are rarely the main culprit. The roots of certain species like poplars and willows may explore cracks in pipes that are already broken, and the best way to deal with the problem is to repair the faulty plumbing. Tree roots may damage a foundation or pavement, but only if the tree is much too close, and often because the substratum itself is already unstable. Plant trees at least four feet away from foundations, pavement and septic systems and install barriers below ground to control root growth.
How do you remove tree roots?
Typically, a tree will have four to seven major roots, so removing a single one may cut off 25% of a tree’s water and nutrient supply. It may also eliminate 25% of its anchoring system! If you do have to remove a root, make sure to replace the soil as quickly as possible, water often during dry periods and thin the crown a bit. And follow this rule: for mature trees, prune roots at least 6 – 8 times the diameter of the tree away from the trunk. For younger trees, prune roots no closer to the trunk than 3 – 5 times its diameter.