It is the roots of the tree that act as an anchor helping it stay upright and steady while supplying it nutrients from the soil. The development, growth, and healing of a tree is largely dependent on the well-being of its roots. The depth of roots can extend anywhere between 6 to 24 inches, depending on the size of the tree. However and furthermore, some trees such as oaks and pines can have roots that go much deeper. The root size and scope are about the same size and scope of the branches above. Yes, that just makes this living plant that much larger.
Any damage sustained by the roots will have an immediate and direct impact on the tree as a whole. For example, if the roots on one side get damaged, then the branches on that side might soon be suffering as well.
Over time, soil compaction causes decrease in oxygen supply to the roots. This can impact root growth and impede water absorption.
Having trees on your property means its own set of responsibilities. Municipal and state laws will have to be adhered to by those who have trees in their yards.
There are a lot of problems that can arise with regard to tree roots. There have been numerous instances of roots leading to problems with the foundations of the house or building. Chopping down the tree is not a feasible solution and there are many other ways in which the situation can be brought under control.
One way of protecting the foundations of structures is by putting in a root barrier. These help to divert the growth of roots straight down and prevent them from spreading across. This minimizes the possibility of tree roots reaching under the foundations. Root barriers are usually flat panels available in varying lengths. Some are available as sheets while others can be interlocked. Root barrier planters are also available and these are most suited for planting trees in areas surrounded solely by hardscapes. Cracks can occur in sidewalks, driveways, and paved surfaces due to their unimpeded growth and root barriers help in preventing this situation as well.
At times, the tree roots can appear over the soil surface. This usually happens over a period of time and is caused primarily by soil erosion. If the roots are exposed, then they are in danger of getting damaged by people trampling on them, lawn mowers, or vehicles going over them. In order to protect such exposed roots, mulch can be used. This is a long-term solution and it also nourishes the roots by preserving the moisture of the soil.
Over time, soil compaction causes decrease in oxygen supply to the roots. This can impact root growth and impede water absorption. Drilling holes in the ground around the root zone of the tree can facilitate aeration. This process is also known as vertical mulching. The depth can be up to 12 inches and the holes can be about 2-4 inches in diameter.
In radial aeration, narrow trenches are made with a compressed air gun across the root zone. The trenches are in a radial pattern and begin about 4 to 8 feet away from the tree trunk. Keeping this distance will prevent any inadvertent damage to the roots during the process. The trenches can then be filled with topsoil or compost. As a result, the growth of roots in the trenched region will be better and more abundant than elsewhere. This is a preferred form of treatment for roots that have been damaged as a result of construction activity in the vicinity.
Deep root feeding is the best method of fertilizing trees. Dry fertilizer can be poured in through holes around the tree zone or probes can be used to inject fertilizer in the area. In case you prefer surface application of fertilizer, the best time to do this would be in late fall or early spring which would mean after the tree sheds its leaves and a little before the new buds begin to sprout.
Roots of trees must be monitored regularly to ensure that they are healthy and thriving. Smaller leaves or decrease in the number of leaves, dead branches, signs of decay, and any mushroom-like structures on the trunk or major roots are all red flags. Adopting remedial measures immediately can help save your trees from dying.