Healthy Roots = Healthy Tree
Written by: Alec Schuppel, ISA Certified Arborist WI-1281A
There is a slightly new perspective floating around these days in the tree industry. One that may flip you upside down on your head, pun intended.
It’s easy to admire the beauty of trees above ground as they display a range of attractive characteristics throughout the seasons; some genetic, some controlled. Since we are generally only privileged to see this above ground portion of the tree, we sometimes lose perspective and consider it the sole living portion of the tree. However, the half of the tree that is below ground (the roots), is the actual brain of the tree. It is a complex web of rooting networks that thrives underground.
The trunk, branches, and foliage of a tree are an extension of those roots. This crown of foliage utilizes the energy from the air and the sun to live. It is important to understand that the condition of the tree above ground is a direct reflection of how healthy its roots are below ground and an indication of the soil conditions around these roots.
The overall purpose of promoting a tree’s health is to benefit that “brainy network” root system as best as possible to allow that brain to expand its fibrous networks as densely and as far reaching as possible.
In nature, trees are provided with a consistent decomposition of organic matter and nutrient cycling. In urban environments we place trees in lawns and compacted soils which limits the root system all while hoping that a tree can provide future shade and add value to the property. We can help replicate the benefits of that natural cycle by de-compacting the root zone, incorporating compost as organic matter, and adding a top dressing of mulch. When a mulch ring may not be practical in your landscape, other supplemental soil injections can provide the missing nutritional benefits to a tree’s root system.
Wachtel Tree Science offers a Root Zone Enhancement service which helps provide all these essential health promoting conditions for tree(s). Trees can also develop a problematic condition known as stem girdling roots which is often brought on by excess soil around the trunk of the tree. These girdling roots affect the growth of the tree and, in severe cases, can cause a tree to die. For this reason, a root collar exam is performed as an initial step in the Root Zone Enhancement process. Contact your Wachtel Tree Science representative to see if our Root Zone Enhancement is beneficial for your tree(s)!