Girdling Roots in Edmonton 1o1

Everything You Need To Know About Girdling Roots

tree suffering from girdling roots in edmonton

In this captivating blog post, we delve into the fascinating topic of tree roots that dare to soar above the soil's surface, and provide remarkable solutions to thwart their audacious endeavors. Nursery and transplanting methods, as well as soil obstructions, commonly lead to the problem of "girdling roots." When something tightly wraps around the trunk or stem of a tree, it becomes girdled. The stem-girdling root encircles or partially encircles the base of a tree at or just below the soil surface. Imagine a tree, growing under the pressure of a constricting leather belt, experiencing the same discomfort you feel when trying to enjoy a festive Christmas meal with an unbearably tight belt around your waist. Girdling the stem of your tree can be extremely detrimental as it obstructs the essential flow of water and nutrients required for its overall well-being and robust growth. It can also weaken the trunk, leading to instability and potential leaning. Moreover, girdling roots can cause a gradual decline in the tree's health and ultimately result in premature death.

Understanding girdling roots and the factors that lead to this fascinating phenomenon is crucial before delving into prevention strategies. So dig out your green thumb and let's dive in!

Understanding Girdling Roots

Girdling roots are more widespread than most people realize, and their impact can be devastating. When the lateral roots on the surface of the soil wrap around or penetrate the main trunk of a tree, the flow of water and nutrients becomes restricted, as mentioned before. The longer a tree is affected by girdling roots, the more it will weaken and become unstable. If left untreated, girdling roots can eventually lead to the decline and death of the tree. It's important to recognize the signs of girdling roots early on and take appropriate actions to prevent further damage.

What Causes Girdling Roots?

In urban environments, trees face unique challenges that their rural or forest counterparts don't. These factors can lead to various issues, such as girdling roots. Root girdling, often caused by incorrect planting or transplanting procedures, is the most common problem. If a tree remains in its nursery for an extended period, the roots tend to accumulate and circle at the bottom of the container due to limited space available. To ensure a successful tree planting, it is crucial to prioritize the loosening of tree roots as an integral part of the process.

Similarly, if the planting hole is too small, the tree roots will start to grow in a circular pattern, causing girdling roots over time. Additionally, leaving pieces of the planting container or other debris in the hole can lead to the formation of girdling roots as the tree establishes itself. Other factors such as heavily compacted soil and being in close proximity to foundations, curbs, and other obstructions can also impede proper, healthy root growth.

Identifying Girdling Roots

An abnormal tree trunk flare is the main indicator of girdling roots. Normally, the trunk flares out where it meets the ground. However, in trees with girdling roots, the trunk may appear straight or even narrower. Additionally, you may observe roots circling above the soil line, although usually girdling roots are just below the surface. Other less noticeable signs may include early leaf drops, smaller leaves, and canopy dieback.

How To Prevent Tree Girdling

Girdling roots should be removed, although it is crucial to seek advice from a certified arborist to prevent any harm to the main stem. In extreme situations, girdling roots may jeopardize the tree's stability, necessitating the removal of the tree.

One of the most effective methods to prevent girdling roots is by properly digging the planting hole of the correct size. Later on, we will share some straightforward yet powerful techniques for successfully planting a tree to avoid girdling roots. A common misunderstanding is that deeper is better, but the planting hole should actually be two to three times wider than the root ball and no deeper than that. Soil should not cover the root flare, and mulch should not be placed up against the trunk.

We've compiled a few tips for treatment and prevention, including:

  • Regularly inspecting the growth of trees is essential in order to promptly identify girdling roots during their early stages.
  • To eliminate small girdling roots, you can use a sharp chisel and mallet. Remove several inches of the root where it meets the tree trunk to prevent reconnection.
  • If there is a big girdling that has become attached to the tree trunk, it is recommended to leave it undisturbed. Making a V-shaped cut in the upper part of the girdling root may be beneficial in weakening it without interfering with the flow of nutrients to the top of the tree.
  • If you are thinking about removing large girdling roots, especially those that are over two inches in diameter, it is highly recommended to seek the expertise of a professional arborist. This is a complex process that requires skilled hands and proper knowledge in order to be properly handled.

Should You Cut Girdling Roots?

It is not advisable to completely remove very large girdling roots, as they may still be providing significant amounts of water and nutrients to the tree's canopy. Instead, they should be removed gradually over time, allowing the tree to adapt and compensate for the loss in water and nutrient flow. If any dieback occurs, it is recommended to remove the dead branches.

Tree Planting Tips To Avoid Future Girdling Roots

Knowing when the perfect moment to plant a tree is as vital as mastering the proper planting technique. Trees thrive on the nourishment derived from the soil and water, and their triumph hinges upon two critical factors: soil temperatures and water availability. To ensure robust root development and proper nutrient retention, it is imperative for the soil temperatures to consistently remain at or above ten degrees Celsius. Accordingly, the weeks leading up to the emergence of leaves in spring and the autumn when leaves have fallen serve as the ideal periods to embark on the tree planting journey. Isn't it fascinating how nature effortlessly signals the opportune time to plant? It eloquently demonstrates that everything follows a harmonious cycle.

A reliable and steady water supply is essential for young trees to thrive and recover from natural rainfall or regular watering. Consistent access to water throughout the year can make a significant difference in the initial years after planting.

  • Dig The Right Plant Hole Size: Making the hole three times wider than the current root mass is crucial for the healthy development of the plant. Avoid deepening the hole beyond the plant's previous environment. The planting depth is a critical factor and can lead to premature death if not done correctly. When placing the tree in the hole, ensure that the root collar, where the roots connect to the main stem or trunk, is at ground level or slightly above.
  • Plant Higher Thank You Would Assume: For a truly successful adaptation of trees to their new environment, we highly advise taking an additional measure. Position the trees so that up to 25% of the root ball is raised above the level of the surrounding soil. Then, carefully backfill the roots with soil and generously apply a layer of mulch on top. This approach not only prevents the trees from sinking below the desired level due to soil settling, but also provides vital protection against root rot and disease.
  • Inspect The Circling Tree Roots: Once you have removed the plant from its container, carefully inspect the roots. If you observe tightly tangled roots in a circular formation or roots that have conformed to the shape of the container, it is crucial to intervene to prevent the roots from becoming root bound.
  • Remove All Air Pockets: For optimal soil-to-root contact, it's crucial to gently press the native soil around the plant roots. After backfilling halfway, a firm spray of water is essential to provide moisture and eliminate potentially damaging air pockets. Finally, complete the process with a thorough and meticulous watering of the plant.
  • Encompass With A Layer of Mulch - But Not Too Much Mulch: For a robust soil-to-root connection, carefully press the natural soil around the plant roots. Moreover, after filling halfway, firmly water the hole. This not only provides vital moisture but also removes any air pockets that could damage the roots. Finally, water the plant again, ensuring a comprehensive and meticulous process.
  • Watering Maintenance: Properly watering and establishing your trees after planting is essential. This crucial task can take weeks to months, and the key to success lies in slow and deep watering. However, manually achieving this can be impractical. The most efficient methods for ensuring proper tree establishment involve using soaker hoses or drip irrigation.


Tree Preservation and Care With Trusty Tree Services

Trusty Tree Services offers professional tree care services in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Stony Plain, and the surrounding areas. Our skilled arborists provide expert tree care for residential, commercial, and municipal properties. Here are some ways to contribute to tree preservation in Edmonton with the assistance of the experts at Trusty Tree Services:

  • Tree Maintenance: Maintaining your trees regularly is essential for their long-term health and longevity. Trusty Tree Services provides a comprehensive range of services dedicated to preserving the well-being of Edmonton's trees. Our team of certified arborists can evaluate the state of your trees and offer expert advice on essential pruning, fertilization, and pest control. Through our rigorous care and meticulous attention to detail, we ensure that your trees will flourish for years to come. With Trusty Tree Services, you can rest assured that your trees are receiving the top-quality care they deserve.
  • Environmental Stewardship: By choosing Trusty Tree Services, you're not just taking care of your trees - you're making a difference in Edmonton's natural heritage. Our company actively engages with local initiatives and organizations dedicated to preserving green spaces. We prioritize sustainable practices and emphasize the importance of tree preservation and urban greenery. With Trusty Tree Services, you can trust that you're making a positive impact while ensuring the well-being of your trees.

If you're struggling with girdling tree roots, your friend, neighbour, mom, dad, or siblings, you can always rely on our certified arborists to come and check out what the problem is. Our professionals will be able to carve out the appropriate method to remove girdling roots, so your tree can breathe and prosper again! Reach out to Trusty Tree Services today, and let's make the world a little more green one tree at a time!


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October 8, 2023

What a fantastic crew!!! Sarah & Shane came and trimmed my rather large tree. Such a professional, knowledgeable, caring, capable and courteous crew. Very well done from beginning to end.They did a fabulous job!

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September 25, 2023

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August 22, 2023

We had a crew from Trusty Tree Services trim three trees on our property a few weeks ago, sorry for the late review. Couldn't be happier with the whole process. From the estimate to the final clean up, everything went very well. I contacted other companies for estimates, didn't even get a call back. Thanks again Trusty Tree for a great job!

Matt H
August 4, 2023

Trusty Tree Services came out and pruned our Amur Cherry tree in Fort Saskatchewan and did a great job. The technicians were knowledgeable and gave me tips on how to better take care of our tree. The technicians were friendly and polite and cleaned up before they left. I would definitely recommend Trusty Tree Service!

Sarah Wilson
July 25, 2023

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July 7, 2023

We had an amazing experience with Trusty Tree. They gave a prompt estimate for some very difficult trees in our campground. They arrived on time and began work immediately. Their expertise shone through as they brought down the trees on point! Friendly, informative, professional and outstanding workmanship. I would recommend them in a heartbeat. Shout out to Colton, Joe and Adrian - great work!

Deanna Craig
July 5, 2023

We had Trusty Tree out this year to shape and thin 4 trees and 3 Mugo Pine shrubs. I was impressed with a quick appt for the quote and then quick response for booking. Our trees were pruned earlier in the season as this was the recommended timeframe, and the Mugo Pine shrubs pruned later in the spring after the new growth appeared. I'm pleased with the crew that came out, they were polite, professional and experienced. We are happy with how our trees and shrubs look and feel the price was fair. We would definitely recommend Trusty Tree and will have them back in the future. Thanks for taking extra time with us to talk about proper pruning too!

Mark stime
June 26, 2023

Very professional and courteous crew. Difficult tree to cut down with bucket truck given clearances.

christine Maclean
June 22, 2023

I am a new widow and my yard work is so overwhelming, I called Trusty tree to come over and give me a quote. Because my husband who has slways been in love with taking great care of our home,has passed I am here to do it alone.Trusty tree are the most professional people I dealt with..And they actually had the most professional quote,they took pictures of my Tree to elaborate on what needed to be done,and explained why everything had to be done in a certain way...after 3 other companies coming out I realized that Trusty Trees quote was extremely fair. So when the Trusty Tree crew arrived to prune my beloved tree, they were ready, and really understood the sentimental value of my tree that my late husband and I used to sit under every night. The crew members Joe and Shane collaborated beautifully brought down the required amount of my tree..They had a fantastic chipper on site and they also cleaned up the yard so beautifully after the cutting was done...If anyone reads this review,please understand how much that tree meant to me and my late husband. Joe and Shane gave it a loving and caring trim, and they where not only hard working but very informative of the process,and very just great guys,they included their sense of humor to make the trimming process easier on me. THEY were so compasionate and understanding . I thank them for that..... If you are thinking of pruning your gorgeous beloved tree, Trusty Tree has got be your only choice. THESE GUYS ARE THE BEST!!! My name is Christine and if anyone wants to contact me about what a great job this crew did..please do!!!

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June 22, 2023

Trusty Tree is a great place to work. Management is caring and hardworking. Equipment is of high quality and maintained professionally. Smooth operation and always great communication between management and team members.Looking for a place to work? This is the place.

Carla Hanak
May 26, 2023

I highly recommend Trusty Tree Services! From start to finish everything was handled promptly, professionally and courteously! They are very knowledgeable and efficient. I really liked how they explained things. We will definitely have them back for some fall work. Thanks to everyone!

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May 23, 2023
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May 19, 2023

We were sad to see our tree go, but it wasn’t well and bigger and bigger branches were breaking off; however our Trusty Tree Arborists did a great job. Thanks to @Sarah and @Michael and thanks for the excellent service Trusty Tree.

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May 17, 2023

Excellent, prompt, efficient and professional service. Team was very pleasant to work with. In and out in no time. Clean worksite. Would definitely recommend.

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May 11, 2023

The services provided were both reasonably priced and work done was excellent!

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May 5, 2023

Very fast professional and thorough work done on both my experiences with Trusty tree Service. Good cleanups and answered all questions. They made valid suggestions which I appreciated. Thank you.

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May 4, 2023

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May 3, 2023

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April 28, 2023

Thanks to Mike and the crew for doing a great job on Grenfell Ave St Albert. Very professional service.

Colleen Butler
April 27, 2023

Fantastic! The team did an excellent job pruning and shaping our trees. Thank you

Paul Whattam
April 27, 2023

This was the second time I've used this company for mature tree removal. This time 4 fully grown columnar Aspen trees located close to fencing, a deck and between 2 houses were successfully removed with no damage to the aforementioned structures but also nearby concrete curbing. Work was done as scheduled, quickly and neatly. Very satisfied with the work.

Rob Butler
April 25, 2023

Great service by the guys at Trusty Tree Services. Very professional and knowledgeable. They really knew their stuff about how to properly prune each type of tree in our yard. Our trees look so much better now and will have the opportunity to thrive. Good care for our garden ornaments and great cleanup afterwards.Thank-you

Darvin Mills
April 24, 2023

Mike And Shay trimmed 11 trees in and around our complex this morning and did an amazing job. They were professional and punctual. Arrived on time, very efficient and ensured that all branches were clean up before leaving. Very pleasant to work with and we look forward to working with Trusty Tree Service over the summer and fall.

Lionel Grobel
April 22, 2023
Judith Hum
April 20, 2023

The gentlemen took down a long dead tree YAY !!!! Professional, honest and did a super job THX !!!!

Shelley Honey
April 18, 2023

Thank you Sarah for all of your help!

Sherry Honey
April 17, 2023

Sarah was very knowledgeable and walked us through the options of our tree removal. The team was friendly and overall a great experience. Would highly recommend Trusty Tree Services.

Paul Cairns
April 13, 2023

I look for three things when it comes to service: 1) friendly attitude, 2) timeliness, and 3) efficiency. The crew were excellent in all three scores. It was great to see a clean truck, maintained gear, and use of personal protective equipment as well. This is a great choice for tree care. Done in less than an hour!!!

Dean Mason
April 12, 2023

Mike’s crew did an amazing job for us - pruned trees & removed every visible black knot fungus. They picked up every twig & left our yard tidy. Very personal & professional crew - would strongly recommend their services ! 👍

Bea & Randall Huisman
April 12, 2023

Sarah and crew were here this morning and did one terrific job of trimming all of our trees. I highly recommend them to everyone needing any tree services done.

April 11, 2023

Sarah and Danny did a great job removing a large tree from the front of my yard. I was impressed with the time efficiency and clean up. I would recommend.

Christina Colenutt
January 19, 2023

When Trevor came to quote my yard at my new house, he helped me identify all the trees and shrubs, and clearly explained what work needed to be done. When the day came to do the work, Kolton and Carl were friendly and also walked me through what they were doing and why (I'm interested in these things and was asking questions). They did their best to save my cherry that is infected with black knot. Looking forward to having them come back to continue tree maintenance in the future.

Jenn C
September 26, 2022
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April 6, 2022
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January 25, 2022
Lisan Maclean
September 15, 2021

We had trusty trees! Cut down our tree and put all new grass down in our back yard and it's absolutely beautiful 😊 Also the crew are very friendly and extremely hard workers! Thank again ❣️

Matthew Hudon (Matt SH)
July 6, 2021

Excellent value for the work they provide. Our crew was very professional and cleaned up the area they chipped in, right down to the pavement.

Trevor Small
June 13, 2021

Trusty Tree is great. Had them remove two trees with cleanup and shredding. looks great and would use again!

Jessy Yau
June 8, 2021

We had a tree in our yard that had died a few years earlier and wasn’t sure who to call. We called Sunstar who recommended Trusty Tree to us. Trevor came out to look at our tree. We didn’t realize we had another Tree that was diseased. He sent us a quote very quickly. He was able to book a time for tree removal, stump grinding, as well as planting our new trees. The project was done in the timeline provided. The crews showed up on time or earlier than expected which was amazing! They were very professional. I would hire Trusty Tree again!

Renee Pelech
June 7, 2021
keith b
June 5, 2021

Professional, courteous and reasonable pricing. Keep it local folks!

Rick McBryer
June 4, 2021

Excellent service. Good response time and automatic communication / payment system. Work was done effectively and efficiently.

Jay Lewis
June 4, 2021

Fantastic experience, staff was friendly and prompt. Left our acreage clean and tidy. Defiantly recommend Trusty Tree.

Graham Wyllie
June 3, 2021

They were on time did a great job & would recommend them any time.

David Provost
June 3, 2021
Sales Tech Patrol
June 2, 2021

Great service, Always happy to please. The team is great excellent at cleaning up and making everything look great. Highly recommend Trusty Tree.

Roger Crispin
June 2, 2021

Well done. Good service.

Lisa Johnston
June 2, 2021

Trusty tree has been doing work for a condo association for the last few years. They are always reliable, and thorough and easy to deal with.