Root Collar Excavation for Wisconsin Trees

Root Collar Excavation to Uncover Girdling Roots

Root collar excavation is the process of removing the dirt from around the trunk of a tree to inspect the base. This is done to investigate the extent of decay that is present or to view the structure of the roots to see if there may be a girdling root issue. Girdling roots are tree roots that have been misdirected and grow around or across the tree trunk causing tree health issues.

Often, if homeowners are seeing issues with the leaves or branches of the tree, it is a sign to inspect the roots. If the tree was planted too deep, the roots cannot get the oxygen they need and therefore grow around the trunk of the tree, ultimately suffocating it. This is what is referred to as girdling roots. Although the tree will still grow, it will not be as strong. Root Crown Excavation is used to thoroughly examine roots and determine the best plan of action to get your tree healthy and thriving once again!

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Root Collar Excavation examining tree roots

  • Identify Girdling Root Issues
  • Identify Decay at Tree Bases
  • Reported Results from Certified Arborist
  • Increase Chances of Healthy Recovery

Root Collar Excavation Services with Detailed Results

Wachtel Tree Science uses a tool called an air spade which is powered by an industrial air compressor to perform this tree care service with precision while avoiding mechanical damage to bark tissue. Attention to detail is a crucial part of what makes a root collar excavation service successful. Our Certified Arborists are well-trained in this process to ensure your trees are carefully inspected.

Our Wisconsin tree care experts have years of experience and knowledge to accurately identify if your trees would benefit from a root collar excavation. Correcting girdling root issues or identifying decay at the tree base will increase your trees’ ability to have a full and healthy life in your landscape.

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Client Testimonial

Excellent work! The crew was very professional and hardworking. They demonstrated great teamwork. I was very impressed!

Roger D. - Delafield​, WI

Root Collar Frequently Asked Questions

What causes insufficient root flares?

Often root flares that are not visible have been covered by mulch or excess soil. Insufficient root flares may also be caused by stem girdling roots or other materials restricting their growth.

How can I prevent or correct the root collar problem?

Preventing excess soil and mulch from building up around the base of the tree is the best way to avoid problems. If they do occur, stem girdling roots may be pruned out prior to becoming embedded into the tree to allow the tree’s trunk to continue to grow in diameter.

What is a root collar exam?

A root collar exam involves taking away excess soil and mulch around the base of the trunk of a tree to review the root flare’s growing conditions. Often during the exam, if stem girdling or circling roots are found, they are pruned out as possible to allow the tree trunk to continue to grow in diameter. The area around the tree is generally left uncovered after the exam is completed.

How do you expose root flares on a tree?

Wachtel Tree Science’s method of exposing root flares usually involves the use of a compressed air system and hand tools to move soil and mulch away from the base of the tree. The compressed air system is able to move the soil without causing physical damage to the bark.

Where is the collar of a tree?

The root collar of a tree is at the base of the trunk where the first main roots attach to the trunk

What is an air spade?

An air spade is a tool that uses compressed air to excavate and move soil particles out of the way. Often this is a tool that is used in root collar exams or air tilling around the base of trees.

How does a tree end up with roots that need a root collar exam?

Often trees that have had the root flare planted too low in relation to the ground around it will need to be excavated. Trees that have had too much soil and/or mulch placed around the base of the tree will benefit from a root collar exam as well.

How will root collar exam help my tree?

A tree will likely have a prolonged life by having a root collar exam. Left unchecked, problems like girdling roots or other fungal problems can shorten a tree’s life if the root collar is not visible. A root collar exam can prevent these problems from occurring on trees. Schedule an exam with one of our Certified Arborists to have your trees carefully inspected.

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Our specialty is identifying what may be the cause of your sick tree and prescribing the proper treatment at the proper time. We offer a wide range of plant health care services to give your trees the care they need.

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