Tree Maintenance: Factors to Consider Before Pruning Your Tree's Roots

Do you have a really beautiful old tree in your yard? Is it looking sick? Learn more about nursing a sick tree back to health.

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Getting my tree back to life

I have a really beautiful old olive tree in my backyard. I love sitting under it on warm summer night. Unfortunately, the tree got a bit of a knock from the truck that brought in our swimming pool this summer, and it has been looking quite sick ever since and hasn't had any olives yet this year. I am very attached to the tree, so I have got a guy from the tree service company making weekly visits to give it extra fertilising and trimming to try to promote growth. This blog is all about nursing a sick old tree back to health with help from a tree service company.

Tree Maintenance: Factors to Consider Before Pruning Your Tree's Roots

20 September 2016
, Blog

Pruning a tree branch can keep it looking beautiful and healthy. It can also eliminate branches and limbs which interfere with electric wires, chimneys, gutters, and roofs. On the other hand, pruning a tree's roots can prevent them from overgrowing into sewer lines and creating plumbing problems. Some roots can grow into sidewalks or landscaping features and create an unappealing look at your backyard. Here are some factors that should help you determine whether you should prune the roots and how you should do it.

The size of the roots 

The size of the tree roots can help you determine whether to prune the tree and to what extent you should do it. For instance, larger roots have the ability to generate a few newer ones after being pruned; therefore, you can prune them. However, ensure that you do not prune all the large roots as this can destabilize the tree or cause damage. Small roots should not be pruned as they may not be able to generate new ones until after a few years.

Proximity to the tree trunk

The proximity of the cut to the trunk of the tree should be considered before root pruning. Cutting the roots too close to the trunk can cause damage to the tree or make it weak. If there's a storm, the tree can easily fall due to instability. Ensure that the distance from the cut to the tree trunk is enough for the remaining parts of the roots to hold the tree firmly to the ground.

The age and condition of the tree

The age and condition of the tree can affect its ability to be root pruned. For instance, old trees are usually under stress, and pruning their roots may not be as some of the roots may be old and weak. You may end up pruning the healthy ones and cause damage to the tree. Similarly, trees in poor physical condition should not be pruned. On the other hand, young and trees can benefit from root pruning without suffering any damage.

Type of the soil

Deep soils have the ability to hold roots better than shallow soils. For this reason, trees that are planted on deep soils have their primary roots deep in the ground; therefore, you can prune some of the roots on the surface. However, trees planted on shallow soils require all the support they can get from the main and secondary roots. For this reason, pruning may not be recommended. A tree specialist can help you determine the depth of the soil before root pruning.

Pruning a tree's roots can help get rid of the old roots and allow new and stronger ones to grow. However, it is important to have a tree specialist assess the tree's condition and its environment before root pruning to ensure that you do not weaken it