Tree Root Girdling

Tree Root Girdling

Girdling tree roots refer to the roots which are surrounding the main trunk of the tree instead of stretching into the soil. Since the roots are twisting around the trunk, the tree might choke off by those roots which may affect the absorption of the nutrients and water. Sometimes, you may see the girdling roots above the ground, and sometimes they just happen deeply in the soil.

There are many negative effects for a tree having girdling roots. The growth rate will be reduced and the foliage will not as dense as normal trees and the size of the leaves will also be smaller. The severe case will even cause the death of the tree. It may take around a decade for girdling roots to show their negative effects, and the problem will appear gradually. So, you should consult a tree professional if you are unsure about that.

Compared with the trees growing in normal soil, the container trees are more likely to grow girdling roots because of the limited space for their roots. Before planting any pot trees, you should manually untangle twisting roots and do some trimming when necessary. If possible, you can even remove all artificial soil to observe the root growth clearly and take action as quickly as possible. For trees planting outside, you should dig holes which are not too deep for holding their roots. Generally, the root flare should be observed clearly in optimum holes. If you cannot see the root flare, it means the root ball is buried too deeply.

Image provided By Sjwells53 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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