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  • Writer's pictureRussell Fey

Getting To The "Root" Of Your Tree Problem


Trees are a beautiful and majestic part of any landscape. As a home or property owner, you likely know the importance of trees to improve the look and feel of your home and provide some level of protection from harsher elements that Mother Nature throws at us.

When you yield healthy trees on your property, all is well. Healthy trees add value and beauty to any property; the average property resale value is increased by nearly 30 percent with a healthy landscape. On the other hand, if you have sick or diseased trees on your property, it can cause additional damage and incur additional costs to you to correct the situation. Employing the services of a professional arborist will help you determine the root cause of a disease or infestation problem and provide practical advice for correcting tree issues and removing dead foliage from your property.

Where does the issue most often start?

A significant cause of tree failure is damage to the root system. When a tree’s roots have been damaged or compromised, the entire tree can collapse, causing damage to your property, your home, and even to you.

Many homeowners will assess their trees at face value, looking at the branches and canopy to determine whether there is a problem. While many issues do show up in these places in the form of discoloration, premature shedding, and dead branches, these are evidence of a deeper problem lying underground--with the tree’s root system.

Causes of root damage to trees

A robust root system is vital to the health of your trees. All plants need water, oxygen, and vital nutrients, and these are readily available near the soil’s surface. The vast majority of a large tree’s roots lie in the first two feet below the soil. If enough space is available, roots can spread out two to three times farther than the branches above the ground. On the other hand, there are many issues that can threaten tree health, starting at the roots. Watch for these signs when planting and caring for trees:

  • Underground pipes--The location of underground pipes can threaten your tree root system; as roots extend through your yard, they can break through and crack pipes, causing damage to both tree and plumbing. The only long-term solution for tree roots and your plumbing will be replacing broken pipes and making sure to plant trees in a location where they won’t be likely to intersect.

  • Roots and pavement--If trees are too close to the pavement, they can eventually lift it. The conflict of pavement and trees will inevitably end in disaster for both if it is not addressed. Careful, strategic planting and the installation of mechanical barriers will inspire roots to move in a different direction.

  • Roots and foundations--Roots can cause some damage to building and home foundations, but most often, trees are more negatively impacted. If a root system is too close to your home’s foundation, chances are that you’ll also have issues with the branches and canopy as well. Take care to plant and prune your tree in such a way that it can spread adequately, growing tall and strong.

  • Surface roots--Surface roots that become exposed due to soil erosion and other growth can quickly become compromised by lawnmowers, animals, and even people. Cutting roots off is not an option, as it can weaken the overall structure of the tree and make it difficult for it to assimilate water and nutrients. Your best option for protecting vulnerable roots is to mulch and keep an eye on moisture levels for optimal growth.

Fey and Sons: Protecting and preserving your beautiful landscape

Fey and Sons professionals are trained arborists who specialize in all aspects of tree care. From planting and pruning to disease management and removal, we have all your landscape needs covered. Call us immediately to see how we can maximize tree growth and keep your yard beautiful all year long. Visit for more information.

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