Archive for December, 2012

Preventing Root Damage From Trenching

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Trenching and trees don’t mix. Nothing says it better than this illustration from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Understanding Roots II

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

The second part of understanding tree roots are depicted in the following illustrations from the National Arbor Day Foundation. The first shows that a tree’s root system is actually pretty complex; ranging from the larger support roots to the tiny , almost invisible absorbing roots. All are important to the health of the tree, and they must be present in the correct proportions if they are to work together for the benefit of the tree. Damage to any part of the root system can throw the whole complex out of whack, at least for a while (until new roots are generated), and thus impair the health and vigor of the tree. A healthy root system means a healthy tree.

The second illustration shows how severe roots can be damaged, depending on where they are severed in relation to the trunk. The further away from the trunk (generally) the less the root system will be affected.

In future entries, I’ll cover general ideas for preventing damage to roots when work must be done around trees.

Understanding Roots

Friday, December 7th, 2012

It’s the dormant season, and you’ve settled in to think about tree care for the coming year; e.g. cleaned and fixed tools, making plans for planting and pruning, reading up on various issues that you have identified to be important for your yardscape, etc. So……………I will be offering some information about the root system of trees, over the next several blog entries, which may be helpful in your studies. The subsequent information and illustrations presented have been gleaned from Tree City USA Bulletin No. 35 from the National Arbor Day Foundation. I hope it is helpful.

The ground in which a tree grows is as much a part of its environment as the sky above. Roots are a trees life support system, and the first rule of tree care is to understand and protect (as much as possible) root zones. Roots sometimes get no respect from us above-ground caregivers. Roots quietly go about doing their job. They anchor immense (and heavy) trees firmly against the wind, deliver vital water to the growing parts, and pry loose essential elements from the soil.  Thus, it is critical that roots be protected as much as possible as we go about above-ground activities. Even when we must install underground utility lines, drainage pipes, construction of foundations or sidewalks, or any other activity that requires digging, it is important to minimize damage to the roots of nearby trees.

One of the first things to realize is how roots systems grow. The following illustrations demonstrate typical root systems, and also debunks a myth that seems to persist no matter what:

Next time I’ll talk some more about the underground network of roots and why root damage must be minimized or avoided.