Tag Archives: girdled roots

Girdled Roots

Did you know just one girdling root can kill or stunt the growth of a tree?  A girdling root grows around the tree’s trunk, strangling the tree.  Girdling roots act as an ever-tightening tourniquet, restricting the tree’s flow of nutrients and water.  The dangers of girdled roots can be prevented with routine tree check ups from a professional arborist.  Once identified, girdled roots can be properly treated.

missouri-botanical-garden-girdling-roots

Girdling root on a cherry (Prunus) caused by mulch being piled against the trunk.
via Missouri Botanical Garden

Preventing Girdled Roots

Inspection is a key step in preventing girdled roots.  When you are planting a new tree, be sure to give the root ball a thorough review to check for any roots which are not radiating out from the tree.

The Dangers of Girdled Roots

When roots girdle a tree, pressure is placed on the water and nutrient pipeline located under the bark.  This pressure increases as the tree grows and it’s diameter becomes larger, making it impossible for water and nutrients to move up toward the tree’s canopy.  If a tree’s girdled roots are left untreated, the side of the tree with girdling roots will suffer and can result in death.

Removing Girdling Roots

Girdled Root Westchester Tree Life

Before the girdling root was removed by Westchester Tree Life

Girdled Root Westchester Tree Life

After the girdling root was removed by Westchester Tree Life

When removing girdled roots, consult a professional arborist!  Request a consultation from Westchester Tree Life using our online form here.

Signs Your Tree is Suffering from Girdled Roots

If you’ve spotted a girdling root around your tree, check for some of these symptons that your tree is already feeling the ramifications of girdled roots:

  • Declining branches or uneven growth in the canopy of large trees
  • Branches with reduced growth on one side of the tree
  • Your tree’s trunk goes straight into the ground versus flaring outward at the base

Tree species that often have problems with girdling roots include pines, maples (excluding silver maple), lindens and magnolias.  This is a tree care matter that should be handled by a professional arborist; schedule a consultation with an ISA-certified Westchester Tree Life arborist today.