How Much Root Damage Can a Tree Take?

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How much root damage can a tree take? Whether your concern stems from an existing landscaping project or a recent natural disaster, it’s no small question.

As a trusted provider of Austin’s tree removal services, our team at Monster Tree Service of Greater Austin has encountered and tackled various arboreal challenges. Keep reading as we lend expert insight, from addressing damage to preventing it entirely.

Watch Out for the Warning Signs

Most trees can withstand about 20% root breakage without significant effects, which is a testament to their resilience. You should not treat this as an all-clear signal, though. Any injuries to major parts (anchor or feeder roots) impact the tree's structural integrity and health.

Keep an eye out for these telltale symptoms:

  • Off-season leaf drop
  • Branch dieback
  • Suddenly leaning or tilting trunk
  • Fungal growth and musty odors
  • Discolored foliage
  • Unusually slow growth

Your tree essentially becomes a ticking time bomb when it has a compromised root system. Consult an arboriculture professional the moment you spot any of these signs.

How To Treat Tree Damage

Once you know the answer to the question, "How much root damage can a tree take?" How you respond to it is the next big question. It mostly depends on the cause.

Digging and Trenching

Do you have construction plans that involve breaking ground near your tree? Before you jumpstart that project, establish a barrier around its drip line, or the outermost circumference of the canopy.

What if it’s too late, and the roots have already sustained damage? Apply latex-based tree paint to the exposed flesh and thoroughly water your specimen. Its remaining roots need extra hydration to compensate for the diminished nutrient uptake.

Soil Compaction

Constant soil impact and heavy machinery operation can turn the ground solid and eliminate air pockets. This suffocates the roots, making it incredibly difficult to absorb those precious nutrients and water.

Easily mend this through vertical mulching. This technique involves drilling holes deep into the soil around your tree and filling it with perlite, vermiculite, or other airy materials.

Surface Root Wounds

Lawnmowers, weed eaters, and other landscape machinery can damage exposed roots when carelessly used. Prevent this by applying a layer of mulch or planting ground cover around your tree, acting as a guide for your landscape work and a buffer for the roots.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Don’t rely on natural root resilience alone. Rather than playing a risky game of roulette with your beloved trees, a proactive, preventive approach is the safest bet. Regular inspections and maintenance, coupled with swift action at the first sign of trouble, can help keep your towering friends healthy.

Bring in Tree Health Specialists

Knowing the answer to, "How much root damage can a tree take?" is an excellent skill to have, but it’s not always enough. If you can’t pinpoint the cause of the problem or you suspect serious damage, Monster Tree Service of Greater Austin has you covered.

Call (512) 641-5638 for a free consultation!