There are many reasons you can visibly see the roots of a tree in your lawn. Keep in mind it doesn’t always mean a tree is unstable or looking for water. Before you attempt to cut any visible roots, it’s essential to know what they do and what can happen if you remove them. That’s why the ISA-certified arborist would like to provide you with the following dangers of cutting tree roots.
The Function of Tree Roots
Tree roots have two primary functions – structure and feeding. Structure roots are the ones that grow beneath the canopy of a tree. As these roots grow outward, they become smaller and smaller. Their job is to provide a stable foundation for a tree. On the other hand, feeder roots are small fibrous roots that work to feed a tree, providing it with water and nutrients. Because of their difference, it’s important to understand both types of roots and their functions with the following Forest Grove tree care tips.
The Dangers of Cutting Tree Roots
As we mentioned above, there may be a wide variety of reasons you can see the roots of a tree in your lawn. However, it’s never a good idea to cut them on your own. If you do, you’ll most likely end up dealing with the unwanted consequences of your actions. Below are a few reasons why.
Large roots that reach out from the trunk support an entire tree. Cutting ones larger than 2” in diameter can put your tree at risk of falling over in high winds or other inclement weather.
Roots are the “mouth” of a tree. Cutting tree roots will reduce the amount of water and nutrients it can take in. While younger trees have a greater ability to recover from root pruning, older trees can get sick and die. Additionally, health or environmentally stressed trees are at a higher risk of mortality. Signs of stress caused by root pruning include dead limbs, stunted growth, and/or yellow and anemic foliage.
Pests & Diseases
Like all living creatures, trees in distress from root pruning are easily susceptible to pests and disease. Many infections of these natures will enter the open wounds of a tree’s roots, causing vascular issues that are often impossible to recover from. Stressed trees can also become a magnet for chewing and sucking insects such as bores, scales, and beetles.
Construction & Landscape Damage
If your home or property is undergoing any construction or renovation, tree roots can become cut or damaged during the process. This type of damage is often caused when you are installing a new sprinkler system, pool, or other feature that requires digging.
Keep in mind, the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality can be very dangerous. The best thing you can do as a homeowner is to protect your trees while keeping their roots in mind in order to prevent damage from happening in the first place.
Be proactive about your preventative tree care by avoiding root-cutting activities. This includes digging, construction, landscape maintenance, etc. It’s also important to avoid piling snow against the trunk of a tree and its exposed roots while being mindful of the use of deicing salts.
For more information, check out the following video from the Arbor Day Foundation: How to Avoid Damaging Tree Roots
Westcoast Tree Care
It’s important to pay attention to any signs or symptoms associated with tree root damage. Signs are often subtle or undetectable to the untrained eye. To prevent problems associated with cutting tree roots, contact the ISA-certified arborist at Westcoast Arbor Care by filling out our online form or give us a call at 1.800.767.8733.
We will professionally assess a tree and its roots to see if ether has become compromised. We can also diagnose any root problems and provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation quote for any of our Forest Grove tree care services.