How to Fix Girdling Tree Roots: Four Tips

how to fix girdling tree roots

Have you noticed a root growing in a circular fashion around the trunk that seems to strangle your tree? That’s a girdling root. Such roots can gradually impede the flow of sap in a tree. The carbohydrates produced in the leaves won’t be able to move through the phloem to the roots. Eventually, your tree will die!

To prevent that, you need to learn how to fix girdling tree roots. In this post, we take a deeper look into girdling roots and how to tackle them, as advised by Brandon’s professional tree service provider. 

How Do Girdling Roots Come About?

Girdling roots mostly affect trees planted too deeply or mulched too much. Adventitious roots develop above the main root structure, where you’ve covered the trunk with soil or mulch. These roots grow upward. Once exposed to the air, they bend and begin to grow around the trunk, surrounding it. As the tree’s girth increases, it eventually touches the girdling root. This root, in turn, compresses the trunk and ends up hampering nutrient flow. 

Your tree will weaken over time and die prematurely. This problem usually results from poor planting methods, compacted soil, and compacted soil. 

How to Identify Girdling Roots

Before you even think about how to fix girdling tree roots, you should know how to identify the problem. Here are some of the common symptoms of girdling roots: 

  • Your tree’s crown is thin, with stunted growth. The leaves could be lighter green, scorched, or exhibit early fall color. 
  • You may experience large branch dieback.
  • Is one side of the tree trunk straight, with no natural root flare? Removing the soil or mulch volcano may reveal a girdling root beneath. 
  • A tree with severe stem girdling may lean or break off entirely. 
  • Reduced nutrient flow makes the tree more vulnerable to disease, insects, and environmental stress. 

Four Tips to Tackle Girdling Roots

Implementing the following tips will help you protect your trees against the detrimental effects of root girdling:

  1. Inspect your trees regularly as they grow. This will help you identify girdling roots in their early stages and easily stop them in their tracks.
  2. Create wide planting holes to allow adequate room for the root system. Avoid smoothing or compacting the sides of the hole, as this can deflect roots and cause girdling. And don’t forget to straighten any circling roots when planting. 
  3. Remove small girdling roots using a sharp chisel and mallet. Get rid of a couple of inches of the root where it touches the trunk. This ensures the root doesn’t reconnect.
  4. If the girdling root is more than two inches in diameter, don’t try to remove it by yourself. Call a qualified arborist for help. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

Even if you know how to fix girdling tree roots, it pays to work with a qualified professional to avoid hurting your tree. In cases like these, Barones Tree Pros can help. We provide a wide range of services, including:

  • Tree pruning
  • Tree removal 
  • Stump grinding

Contact us at 601-345-8090 for a free estimate or to learn about our professional tree care services.

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