ISA Certified Arborist in the San Diego Area
ISA Certified Arborist in the San Diego Area

What Is Root Pruning?

tree care

What Is Root Pruning?

An Overview of Root Pruning and Why it Helps Tree Health

Useful Insights from ISA-Certified Arborists

While pruning is a commonly understood term in tree care, most of us may not be aware of what root pruning is and how it helps tree health. Simply explained, it involves pruning roots to minimize potential damage to a tree’s root system. It is a preventative step to avoid injury that could occur due to the planned future relocation or transplanting of certain trees, or excavation work around the trees on your property. The ISA-certified arborists at Coastal Tree Care shed some light on the process of root pruning and how it benefits tree health.

Understanding Root Pruning and its Advantages

  • Why do you need root pruning? Are you planning any new development or modifications to the buildings on your property? Are certain large trees in the way of your plans? Relocating large trees with mature root systems can be tedious and risky. Experienced tree care professionals remove only a portion of the roots, usually just the circumference of the drip line. Upon relocation, the tree depends on this root ball to absorb water and nutrients, which means it will need abundant feeder roots to sustain the stress of transplantation.

Through a skillfully planned and executed tree root pruning job, our crew will promote the health and stability of your transplanted tree by:

  • Cutting off the long, anchor roots
  • Protecting the critical roots
  • Encouraging feeder root development closer to the drip line
  • What methods do we use in root pruning? Usually, our tree relocation crew will hand cut roots that are under an inch in diameter and avoid cutting roots that are over three inches in diameter. Common methods of pruning roots that are between one to three inches in diameter are:
  • Air, or water or hand excavation and pruning: Precise identification of pruning spots through hydro excavation or hand tools, followed by cutting the roots with a sharp saw or lopper.
  • Specialized root cutting machinery: Faster than hand excavation but can tend to be a slightly indiscriminate pruning method, without identifying the exact location of the pruning cuts.
  • Chain trenchers or excavators: Used when the other methods are not suitable due to specific site constraints.
  • When should you plan root pruning? Have you identified the trees that are obstructing the planned construction, excavation or modifications to your property? Get a tree risk assessment done right away, and ideally, schedule the root pruning six months before your planned transplanting exercise. For most trees, this is sufficient time to develop new feeder roots that will help them survive the digging and relocation. However, certain trees may need more time to develop new roots, or you may need to dig them in a specific season, such as the period when they are dormant. Rely on qualified arborists for advice on ideal conditions and the best timing for the job.

Professional Root Pruning and Tree Care Services

At Coastal Tree Care, we specialize in all aspects of tree care, including branch pruning, tree removal, stump grinding, root pruning, and more. Our ISA-certified arborists conduct thorough tree risk assessments that detail the current and future arbor care needs of the trees on your property. We can guide you on the ideal timing for root pruning, explain the effort involved, and provide other pre or post-root pruning care that your trees require.

As a licensed, bonded and fully-insured tree services company, we have been serving the arbor care requirements of commercial properties across the San Diego area. This includes properties in La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, Coronado, Pacific Beach, and Del Mar, CA.

For efficient and affordable root pruning services and comprehensive arbor care, rely on the professionals at Coastal Tree Care. Call 619-847-4225 or contact us online to request a free estimate.


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