Five Signs of Troubled Tree Roots

Simply put, trees cannot thrive without healthy roots. In addition to drawing water from the ground, tree roots collect nutrients from the soil and provide stability for the aboveground portions of the tree. If a tree's root system begins to experience problems, the entire tree is likely to suffer.

While it is wise to have a certified arborist inspect your trees regularly to ensure they remain in good health, you should observe your trees regularly, so you can catch problems before they become serious. Proper arbor care will not only give you a better chance of saving the tree, it will often save you a great deal of money.

If you notice any of the following signs, solicit professional help to ensure the trees do not represent a safety hazard.

.   The tree suddenly begins leaning. This often indicates that the roots on one side of the tree have broken or begun pulling loose from the soil. Such trees are incredibly dangerous, as they can fall at any moment. Stay away from leaning trees and call an arbor care professional such as Crawford Landscaping at once.

.   The soil around the tree mounds on one side. This often accompanies leaning trees, but in some cases mounding soil occurs by itself. This can indicate a number of below-ground problems, including fungal rot, mechanical damage or the presence of subterranean critters. No matter the cause, mounding soil represents an urgent and potentially dangerous situation.

.   Branches in the canopy begin shedding leaves early. Premature leaf drop may occur on a single branch or it may occur throughout the entire canopy. A variety of stimuli can lead to this phenomenon, from parasites and fungus to stress brought on by water shortages or construction activities. Only a skilled and experienced arborist can determine the cause of the problem and recommend a course of action, so waste no time in contacting a professional. 

.   The tree exhibits poor growth. Slow growth can indicate a number of different problems, but many of these relate to root-system health. Compacted soil may be preventing the roots from penetrating into fertile soil or the soil in the area may be lacking in key micronutrients. In many cases, soil amendments and vertical mulching can improve the health of the root system by making the soil more conducive to root growth, but you'll need a tree-care professional to assess the situation and prescribe a suitable course of action.

.   Mushrooms grow under the tree's canopy or at the base of the tree. Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi, so when you see them spring up around your tree, it indicates that their long tendrils (called hyphae), are likely feasting upon the tree's roots. However, not all fungi are destructive to trees, so samples must generally be taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis. If the fungi are found to be from a species that causes tree decay, you'll need to remove the tree for safety's sake.

These aren't the only signs that may indicate diseased or damaged tree roots, but they are among the most common. However, you should never hesitate to contact an arborist if you notice anything about your roots that strikes you as out of the ordinary. Be sure you ask for a certified arborist. We have a certified arborist on staff at Crawford Landscaping.

The important thing is to keep an eye on your trees, and act promptly whenever you notice a problem.