Rooting for Your Tree: 3 Things an Arborist Can Do to Help a 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.

Rooting for Your Tree: 3 Things an Arborist Can Do to Help a Tree's Roots

30 September 2019
, Blog

A tree's root system decides, for the most part, the health of the tree that it supports. After all, the roots are responsible for anchoring trees and, more importantly, feeding them! Therefore, if your tree looks sick or stressed but you can't see the cause no matter how hard you look, the problem likely lies with its roots.

Unfortunately, unless you are a trained arborist, spotting root issues is a challenge. If you can't find any signs of disease, pest damage or physical trauma on your tree, you may need an arborist to check the soil around your tree's roots.

An arborist can help your tree's root system in the following ways.

1. Correct Drainage Issues

Sometimes, because of recent construction, landscaping projects or poorly planned irrigation systems, the soil around a tree's roots may receive too much water. Moreover, if the soil around the tree's roots is composed of clay, water drainage in the area will be poor. This will cause water to sit in the soil and suffocate the tree's roots. Tree roots can also rot when exposed to excessive moisture.

An arborist can deal with this issue by improving the drainage around your tree's root system. For instance, they could break up compacted soil in the area and add a French drain to ensure that water doesn't swamp your tree's roots.

2. Improve the Quality of the Soil

Tree roots need nutrients like iron to be available in the soil. They also need soil that has a pH of at least 5.8 or more, since anything less is too acidic for healthy tree roots. If the soil around your tree's roots is lacking in nutrients, it will show in your tree's canopy. Growth will be stunted and the leaves will turn yellow.

In this case, an arborist can help by first testing the soil, and then adding fertilizer to help stimulate growth and vitality.

3. Deal With Compaction Damage

If the soil around your tree's roots has seen a lot of traffic over the years, the soil is probably compacted. That means that the soil is packed in tightly around your tree's roots, preventing the roots from taking in water, nutrients and oxygen. This problem will cause your tree to decline over several years. It may eventually die.

However, an arborist can dig trenches around your tree's roots to relieve the pressure. Once they have dug those trenches, arborist can then fill them with compost mixed with topsoil to help your tree's roots quickly recover from the damaged caused by the compaction.

These are just three of the ways an arborist can help your tree. If you think there is a problem with the soil around your tree, call a reputable arborist before your tree suffers any further damage.