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Don't Ignore Your Roots!

We often admire the majestic canopy of trees which provide shade and beauty. But what lies unseen beneath the soil plays an important role in the tree's health and well-being: its root system. The roots are the true key to the longevity and health of a tree. Providing anchorage, absorbing water and nutrients, and communicating with the surrounding ecosystem. So, why should you care about healthy roots? Let us explain. There is a whole world of roots lying just below the ground.

Anchorage: Just as a skyscraper relies on a solid foundation, a tree's stability hinges on its root system. Strong roots anchor the tree firmly in the ground, safeguarding it against the forces of nature such as fierce winds and heavy rainfall. This stability is not just about preserving the tree itself; it also mitigates the risks of property damage and protects lives during storms.

Lifeblood of the Tree

Roots act as the lifeline of a tree, drawing up water and vital nutrients from the soil. These nutrients are then transported to the leaves, where they fuel the essential process of photosynthesis, which sustains the entire tree. Without a healthy root system, a tree becomes vulnerable to malnourishment, weakness, and disease.  

Communication Network:

Roots possess a remarkable ability to communicate, not only with each other but also with other plants and fungi in the soil. This intricate network facilitates resource sharing, pest defense, and adaptation to environmental changes. Healthy roots foster a flourishing underground ecosystem, enriching the entire landscape in the process.

Benefits of Soil Injected Fertilization

Trees living in our urban areas face numerous challenges with soil volume, organic matter, and soil compaction. Arborists have many tools to help correct soil issues for trees and shrubs. Fertilization treatments provide the following benefits: 

  • Liquid fertilizers provide a more even spread throughout the root system compared to granular or tree spike fertilizers.

  • Soil-injected fertilization uses pressure to open up cracks and increase porosity in compacted soils. 

  • Fertilization provides essential macronutrients and micronutrients and can help correct soil pH levels to make it easier for roots to pick up available nutrients in the soil.

Growth Regulators 

Growth regulator treatments are applied around the base of the tree and help the tree build resiliency to stress agents and help increase the fine absorbing roots of trees. This is accomplished by slowing the vegetation growth of branches and stems and transferring some of this energy into the root system of the tree. Growth regulators can be applied to stress trees or trees affected by soil disturbance such as compaction, or trees struggling with higher than appropriate pH levels.


Root Aeration and Stem Girdling Roots

One of the biggest challenges for urban trees is soil compaction.  Our best and most effective tool to combat compaction is the pneumatic excavation tool. This air pressure tool tills and aerates the affected soil with bursts of air under high pressure. This tool mechanically breaks up heavy soil particles and creates a favorable environment for root growth.

Our pneumatic excavation tool also is great for inspecting and removing stem girdling roots (SGR). It blows the soil away from the base of the tree (usually 2-3ft away) to allow an easy inspection of the trunk flare where the stem meets the roots. Stem girdling roots are roots around the base of the trunk that circle and wrap around the lower stem. As they grow larger they create pressure on the stem and constrict the flow of water and nutrients up the stem of the tree. This causes a stunted growth habit and can often lead to the premature death of a tree. Some girdling roots can be only minor issues for a tree, while others can become lethal. It’s important to have a Certified Arborist inspect for stem girdling roots to diagnose the severity, need, and dosage of root cutting to free the stem from the troublesome root.

Prevention is Key!

Don't ignore the roots of your tree! Schedule a visit with one of Hoppe's Certified Arborists by calling 414-257-2111 or requesting a visit online. They are available to discuss what services we can offer to keep your trees and shrubs happy and healthy, starting at the roots!

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