Girdling Roots – Part 2

A few posts back I talked about Tree Girdling.

How do you diagnose a girdling root problem? Here is what to look for:

If your trees leaf out late, have small chlorotic leaves or needles, drop their leaves early, and are dying back they should be checked for a girdling root. Some soil or mulch may need to be removed to detect a girdling root, especially if the root or trunk flare is absent. Probably the most reliable above ground characteristic of a girdling root is a trunk indentation or flattening at the base of the main trunk. Non-girdled trees rarely show this abnormal development.

Note, not all girdled trees show these symptoms. The big problem with girdling roots is that to the untrained eye, trees can appear very healthy for many years prior to the onset of the more obvious symptoms.


How do you fix the problem?

A girdling root must be removed in a manner that will minimize injury to the trunk tissue. It is probably best to consult with a Certified Arborist or Tree Expert to determine the appropriate treatment, especially if large roots are to be removed. It is also important that the tree be Inspected for deadwood and pruned as necessary. Very large girdling roots should not be cut. As with most of tree health, prevention is the key. This is an easy problem to try and prevent, but very difficult to correct. If you check your trees once a year for girdling roots they should never become a major problem. Winter is a great time to look – head out now and check your trees!


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