Protecting Tree Roots

Protecting Tree RootsA tree is a pretty impressive organism. What you see above is what you get underneath. Yet, most people are so focused on the part they see, that they forget about what lies hidden below. They wonder why their trees are dying even though nothing seems to be wrong on the surface.

The root system, however, is quite fragile. Once damaged, it’s harder for a tree to fight back. Protecting your tree’s roots is vital to ensure its wellbeing and functionality. Roots carry a lot of responsibility. They are a tree’s anchor, hold it steadfast in the ground. From the soil, they draw nutrients and water, hydrating and nourishing the whole plant.
You can protect your tree’s roots with a few simple steps right from when you first put the tree into the ground.


When planting a tree, you need to make sure you get the appropriate depth. If planted too deep, you are putting unnecessary stress on the whole root system because they can’t access enough oxygen. It’s better to err on the shallow side as this can easily be corrected later on.


Mulching over the root zone will help in many ways. Not only does it stop weeds from growing excessively. Mulch will also guard the roots against extreme temperatures and nourish them with organic matter. However, it’s easy to over mulch, suffocating the roots and eventually killing the tree. Stay clear off the trunk as well. Mulching in close proximity might cause the bark to rot.

Stay clear

Especially when you have a young tree, protect the area around it as much as possible. Too much soil compaction from standing or walking over a growing root system will limit the amount of water and oxygen in the soil, leaving the tree weak and slowing down its growth.

Cover the base

Despite common belief, roots do not mirror the tree’s anatomy from above. Meaning, rather than growing deep, they often go wide which is why damage can occur more easily than assumed. The roots of a mature tree can spread up to 3 times the diameter of the size of its crown.

Also, the closer the roots are to the stem of the tree base, the more important they are for its stability and support. It’s important that you know how wide the root structures of a tree are extending, especially if you plan a major construction project nearby. Keep the area clear or mark it off to avoid potential damage. Alternatively, you can put up a temporary protection fence to remind you.


When undertaking regular gardening maintenance such as weeding and mowing your lawns, take extreme care around root systems. Especially in places where roots are exposed, damage can be easily done. Roots that have been cut or broken are less efficient at gathering and transporting water and nutrients into the plant system. Furthermore, just like a cut in your skin makes you more susceptible to infections, a damaged root allows easy access for bacteria that can potentially destroy the whole tree.

Treatment for unhealthy roots

If you find your tree is looking a bit shabby or seems to suffer from diseases without showing any visible signs, its root might be causing the trouble. Why not get in touch with us today? We can appraise the condition of your tree and offer a quick diagnosis. If you spot the symptoms early enough, we may even be able to save your tree! If not we are happy to discuss removal options if necessary.