Stem Girdling Roots

The tree inventory that was recently completed will give us lots of information regarding the health of our trees.  We will not have the full report for a few weeks, but I will share some of the information that we have so far.  With this post I will highlight the problem of stem girdling roots.  There are many trees on the property that have this problem.  Stem girdling roots happen when the roots grow around the trunk of the tree, just below the soil surface, rather than growing out away from the tree.  As the trunk of the tree gets larger, the root begins to "choke" the tree preventing nutrient transport to the top of the tree.

These two trees show a good example of stem girdling roots.  These two maple trees were likely planted at the same time as a pair.  Obviously, the tree on the right is much larger and healthier than the tree on the left.  The tree on the left has a stem girdling root.

The base of the tree shows one side of the trunk going straight into the ground which is characteristic of a stem girdling root.

This does not mean the tree needs to be removed, but it does mean the tree is not going to get any healthier.  As the tree continues to survive, the integrity of the trunk will become compromised which will make it more susceptible to all types of environmental conditions.
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