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Girdling Roots: Unraveling the Silent Threat to Your Trees

Trees are considered the green lungs of our cities, but what if something is silently strangling these breath-givers? A pervasive issue affecting urban forestry, girdling roots are depriving trees of their vitality in many Canadian cities.


This underground menace not only jeopardizes the health and longevity of your cherished trees but can also pose risks to your property and the people around you. How are girdling roots turning our green allies into potential hazards? Let's delve deeper and equip ourselves with the knowledge to prevent and combat this issue.


A large, majestic tree with huge reaching roots

Understanding Girdling Roots

Girdling roots are sometimes referred to as strangling roots. They are a significant and often overlooked threat to tree health. They form when a tree's roots grow in a circular or spiral pattern around the base of the trunk.

This abnormal growth pattern can occur for several reasons, including improper planting methods, such as planting a tree too deep or compacted soil, forcing roots to grow laterally instead of vertically.

Instead of growing outward to seek nutrients and water, these misdirected roots wrap around the trunk and start to encroach upon it. As they continue to grow, they exert pressure on the trunk, effectively strangling it, a condition known as stem girdling. This process can be likened to a slowly tightening belt, cutting off essential pathways for water and nutrients.


What makes girdling roots particularly dangerous is their stealthy nature. As they develop below the soil surface, the damage they cause often goes unnoticed until noticeable signs appear on the tree.

By then, the roots may have caused significant harm, compromising the tree's stability and overall health. Understanding the concept of girdling roots is the first step in protecting your trees from this silent killer.


The Dangers of Girdling Roots

Girdling roots put your trees at risk. As they encircle and strangle the tree, they cut off the flow of water and nutrients from the soil to the rest of the tree. This blockage causes stress and can result in a decline in the tree's overall health.

Visual signs of this problem include thinning canopy, smaller leaf size, premature fall coloration, and overall reduced growth. The impact of girdling roots is not immediate but gradual, making it harder to detect. Over time, affected trees can become structurally unstable, posing a potential hazard to property and people.


Managing and Preventing Girdled Roots

To keep your trees healthy, it's important to stop girdling roots before they start. Planting a tree correctly is the best way to do this.


When you plant a tree, make sure it's not too deep in the ground. If it's too deep, the roots might grow sideways and wrap around the tree. Before you put the tree in the hole, loosen the roots. This helps the roots grow outwards instead of getting tangled up.


Regularly check your trees to catch any girdling roots early. Look at the bottom of your trees and check if roots are growing towards the tree instead of away from it. If you find girdling roots when they're small, you can cut them off and stop them from harming the tree.


If girdling roots have already made a tree unhealthy and unsafe, you might need to remove the tree. You can hire professionals for tree removal who know how to safely take down trees and can remove the tree without hurting the other trees or your yard.


It's important to be safe when considering a significant task like tree removal. Sometimes it's possible to Do-It-Yourself, but there are many occasions where it's best to get help from a company like All Season Tree Service.


Take Action Against Girdling Roots in Edmonton! Call All Season Tree Service Today

Awareness is the first step to action. Now that you understand the insidious nature of girdling roots don't let your tree fall victim to this silent killer. Partner with professionals who can guide you through preventive measures, timely intervention, and, when necessary, strategic tree removal.


Don't let these root issues strangle your tree's health. Contact All Season Tree Service today to receive your free estimate.


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