When you see a beautiful old tree, it is the large trunk and impressive foliage that attracts your attention. You may not think about the roots of the tree unless they are getting in your way. Nevertheless, the roots are just as impressive. They extend far out beyond the trunk and the canopy. Most are close to the surface, with some extending above ground, but others grow deep underground. The health of your tree depends on taking proper care of the roots. Otherwise, it may have to come down, requiring professional services during and after, including tree stump removal.
Why Are Tree Roots Important?
A tree needs certain things to survive:
- Carbon dioxide
It absorbs the sunlight with the chlorophyll in its leaves or needles and absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, it needs its roots to absorb the water and nutrients from the soil that it uses to make food. If the roots are not healthy, the tree may not be able to sustain itself.
During the winter, the ground is frozen and the tree can no longer access the water and oxygen that it needs from the soil. The roots store energy in the form of starch. During the winter, this breaks down to continue to sustain the tree until the weather warms up again.
Another reason why roots are important to the tree is stability. The roots of the tree are a little like the foundation of a house. They have to be strong and sturdy enough, as well as properly balanced, to support the structures above. If the roots are not sufficiently strong and balanced, it undermines the stability of the entire tree, making it more likely to fall.
How Can You Care for the Roots of Your Tree?
Here are some tips for caring for your tree by keeping the roots healthy:
1. Avoid cutting the roots. While the smaller roots can be trimmed back occasionally as needed, cutting one or more of the main roots can cause a tree significant stress. It could die as a result, and even if it doesn’t, it could stunt its growth for several years. Cutting a major root also leaves the tree vulnerable to diseases and insect infestation.
2. Spread mulch around the roots of your tree in the spring. This helps hold water in and provides extra nutrients as the organic material breaks down. Leave the mulch throughout the winter so it helps protect your tree from the cold.
3. Allow the roots to breathe. Don’t compact the soil around your tree or pack the mulch in too tightly or too close to the base. Otherwise, trees won’t be able to access the oxygen they need to grow. In a sense, they will suffocate.
4. Water the tree regularly. Most people think that only young trees need to be watered. However, older, established trees may need occasional watering as well. For example, some species of trees are not very drought resistant, so when the rain hasn’t fallen for a while, they may suffer due to a lack of water.
5. Strike the right balance. Trees can benefit from regular watering, but “regular” doesn’t necessarily mean every day. Wet soil prevents the roots of your tree from absorbing oxygen, so allow the soil to dry out for a while before watering again. Create a schedule that makes sense for where you live, and make it flexible enough to adapt to conditions. For example, water your tree less often during periods of heavy rains and more often during drought.
Tree Stump Removal and Other Services from Martin’s Tree Service
Martin’s Tree Service helps you take care of your trees with services such as pruning. We can also help with the removal of a tree and its remaining stump as needed. Contact us for more information about what we can do for the trees on your property.