Mar 08, 2017

Roots play a major role in the health and wellbeing of a tree. The trunk, branches and leaves are dependent on their roots not only for stability but for all its necessary nutrients. When damage occurs to the root system due to fungal growth, physical injury, poor soil or improper planting, a cascade of negative consequences can result. Your once beautiful ornamental may quickly become a sad eye sore in a matter of just a few months. The key to saving your favorite tree from removal is knowing what signs to look for so you can react immediately and help reverse the damage before it overwhelms the whole system. Here are a few red flags that may alert you to possible root issues.

Severely Leaning Trunk

A leaning tree is often caused by a root system that has failed at supporting the weight of the trunk. The source of this failure can be root rot, shifting soil, or improper growth. Some of these situations might be remedied with help from a professional. Other times, when severe root damage has occurred, you’ll need to have the tree removed. Having a leaning tree can be dangerous, particularly when it involves a large, mature tree. When it’s close to your home or driveway, the risk of damaging expensive property or injuring loved ones is heightened.

Wilted and Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves, otherwise known as chlorosis, is caused by a lack of chlorophyll. This normally occurs because of an inadequate number of essential nutrients. While the reason for chlorosis can be poor soil drainage or high pH, a common cause is root damage. If your roots are failing to absorb and distribute the vitamins and minerals the tree needs to survive, then it will begin to struggle. Eventually, the yellowing of the leaves may spread, become wilted, and die. If the problem is ignored for long enough, and the issue isn’t corrected in a timely manner, the whole tree may suffer irreparable injury and need to be removed.

Reduction in Canopy Growth

If you notice that your once lush canopy is sparse, even in the middle of spring and summer, it could indicate root problems. Chances are that your damaged roots are causing a lack of nutrients that’s severe enough for your tree to begin conserving its resources. This will create a lack of new leaf growth, and you will see your crown begin to thin. With the help of a professional arborist at 404-CUT-TREE, you may be able to correct the problem before it’s too late.

Evidence of Girdling Roots

Girdling roots are a phenomenon that occurs when the roots begin growing in a circular pattern that winds around the trunk of the tree. As the roots continue to grow this way, they begin to cut off water and nutrients to the trunk, causing many problems with the health of the tree. Some symptoms to look out for are early fall coloring, small leaves, damaged branches and trunks that bulge out just above the ground. Girdling can be caused by a variety of factors, though the most common are:

  • Trees cultivated in containers can begin to form in a circular pattern and continue growing in a similar way after transplanting.
  • The tree is planted in a hole that is too small and roots have a difficult time spreading out.
  • Improper planting technique.

Thankfully, an experienced arborist has techniques that can help combat these problems from occurring. When transplanting your trees, be sure to prune roots that have formed incorrectly, plant at the right depth with a sizeable hole, and avoid piling an unnecessarily large amount of mulch around the trunk.

Mushroom Growth Around the Base of the Tree

Fungus can live dormant in the soil around a tree for many years unnoticed. However, after several rainy days, you may go outside and discover that your tree is suddenly surrounded by mushrooms. This is a sign of root rot and should be addressed immediately. If the fungal growth persists, it indicates problems with the roots which may cause the tree itself to die or fail.

Do You Need Help From Experienced Tree Care Professionals? Call 404-CUT-TREE Today

If you are struggling with any of the symptoms listed above, contact a professional arborist immediately. The sooner you can get help from an experienced tree care specialist, the better your chances of recovery will be. At 404-CUT-TREE, we have well trained certified arborists on staff who have access to powerful tools and techniques that can detect and in many cases reverse root damage before it affects the overall health of your tree. Our team can use a resistograph to test for decay. We can also check your trunk, roots and soil for fungal growth, pests, plant diseases and nutrition deficiencies. Our arborists and tree care professionals are proud to serve Atlanta, Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Suwanee, Lawrenceville, and all other north metro Atlanta area communities. Call us today at 404-CUT-TREE, and schedule an appointment with one of our friendly local arborists.