The Root of the Problem: What Happens to a Root System When a Tree Is Removed?

About Me
Ensuring The Longevity Of Your Trees

There are so many benefits to having trees around the home, but without proper care, tree debris becomes a flying projectile during storm season. If you do not know how to spot potential trouble in your trees, then you don't recognise when it is time to call on the help of a tree service. So, within these blog posts, you will find information written to help you keep your trees healthy and strong for a very long time. Learn how to spot the signs of tree disease and discover how pruning specific tree branches can make your tree stronger. Don't let a bad storm be the end of your majestic trees when tree education ensures they will live for decades.


The Root of the Problem: What Happens to a Root System When a Tree Is Removed?

16 January 2020
 Categories: , Blog

The branches were cut off, the trunk was cut down, the stump grinding has finished, and now the tree is no more. It might have been pulverised into wood chips on your property, or removed in pieces, but the tree is no longer there. Or is it? Just because you can't see it, that doesn't mean that there isn't a significant section of the tree still there, just beneath the surface. Removing a tree on your property doesn't usually involve removing its root system too, unless that root system is particularly shallow. For all other trees, you might be wondering—is it important to remove the roots as well?

The Angle of the Ground

There can be some benefit to leaving the root structure of the tree buried where it is, but this depends on the angle of the ground. If the tree was growing on a slope, its root structure will help to stabilise the soil, which can prevent erosion in the event of heavy rainfall. This is unlikely to be a pressing concern if the tree was removed from a more-or-less level surface. But still, it poses the question—do you need to do anything about the roots?

Automatic Decomposition

Whether or not any further action is required will depend on the species of tree that was removed. The tree is unlikely to have an overly aggressive root system (since the list is fairly short, but more about that in a moment), meaning that the buried roots, when deprived of their ability to receive nutrients via sunlight (since the above-ground portion of the tree has been removed) will begin to decompose, enriching the surrounding soil as they do so.

A Second Shot at Life

Trees with an aggressive root system will essentially fight to be reborn. Poplars and willows are amongst the worst culprits, but it's important that your tree removal company identifies the tree before it's removed so they are able to tell you whether the roots will keep sprouting after the trunk has been removed. This can be problematic, since the sprouts can emerge from the ground from any section of the roots, and not necessarily where the main trunk was located. These sprouts can be eliminated on a case-by-case basis, or the entire root system can be treated with herbicides, after which it will begin to decompose. 

In most instances, the root system of a removed tree can be left where it is, but you can't entirely discount the possibility that the tree will make another attempt to grow. Contact a company that offers stump grinding services to find out if they can also help you remove the roots of your trees.