Tree Surgeons in Surrey

01306 888 441

Dave Ford Tree Care

Visibly damaged roots

The roots of a tree are essential to its survival as a means of anchoring itself in the ground, and for the uptake of water and minerals from the soil. Clearly any obvious damage to the root system is a cause for concern. The vast majority of the tree’s structural support comes from the area of roots closest to the stem, known as the root plate. The root plate extends to approximately the same area as the crown (although there are more complicated methods of calculating it), and so any obvious death or damage to roots in this area, especially caused by trenching can seriously affect the stability of the tree.

Certain species, especially Cherries and their relatives (Prunus spp.), have very shallow roots which are easily damaged by lawn mower blades. Although the damage is unlikely to be terminal at first, repeated damage by mowing can allow the ingress of fungal or bacterial infection into the roots presenting a much more serious problem.

Like any other part of the tree, roots need to breathe. One of the most common causes of damage to roots in urban areas is caused by compaction of the soil. This is especially bad where a path or drive passes over the roots of a tree. Continued pressure exerted on the soil compresses any air spaces, preventing air from diffusing down to the roots. This may contribute to a lack of vigour in the canopy and can eventually lead to the death of the roots. Compaction can be alleviated by using an ‘air spade’ to fire compressed air into the soil, though a much lower impact solution is to apply a good layer of woodchip mulch, thus preventing the soil from being compressed so badly, and inviting earth worms into the area.

Flooding of the soil can create a similar (though more serious) effect to compaction, since air is unable to diffuse in great enough quantities through a body of water. Some species, for instance Willows (Salix spp.), Apples (Malus spp.) and Alders (Alnus spp.) are very tolerant of flooding; other species for instance Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Cherries (Prunus spp.) Hazel (Coryllus avellana) and Holly (Ilex aquifolium) may be seriously damaged very quickly once waterlogged.

  • Many thanks, your guys did a great job, very friendly and helpful and they cleared up brilliantly. We didn't see them leave as we were still at work so didn't get a chance to thank them so please pass that on for us. We can't believe the difference it has made, we have daylight not to mention a massive reduction in leaf clearing up this autumn!

    Mrs Griffiths - Epsom.

  • All works completed in a courteous and professional manner. Thanks to your guys.

    Mr Partridge – Reigate

  • The Lads did a great job. Arrived on time, carried out the surgery efficiently and with care, as well as clearing everything up before they left. Also fantastic to deal with an efficient head office team handling quotes and invoicing. Thank you for a job well done.

    Mr Johnson - Fetcham

  • Just wanted to say your two guys did cracking work at my place today with felling the willow tree. Definitely get your team back to sort out rest of the garden in a few months time Please pass on my thanks

    Mr Albert –Caterham

  • Dear Dave, I just wanted to say how pleased I was in the way that Justin and his team efficiently tackled my garden – back and front!

    Mrs Grant – Esher

  • Thank you for your work. I will be in touch for further work in the summer

    Mr Burrows – Nutfield

  • Dear Adriaan and team – Thank you for your great work on our trees 

    The Marshalls – Esher

  • Many thanks for carrying out the tree work in my garden. It was a very good job and they tidied up. I was really pleased with the result 

    Mrs Hill – Betchworth

  • Thank you for the work done in the garden yesterday - really lovely boys - who did a brilliant job. Trees look so much better

    Mrs Chambers – Dorking

  • Thank you very much and please convey my thanks to the surgeons for a good job well done.

    Mr Millard –Earlswood

  • Many thanks. We are very pleased at the outcome of this tree work.

    Mrs Crowther - Weybridge

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