Girdling, or choking, causes a constriction of the major flare roots of a tree.
Base work, or root flare excavation, is the process of removing soil from the area immediately around the trunk of the tree to check for root color deterioration, girdling or choking roots, wires, ground cover or excessive soil accumulation. We use a high-pressure air spade to accomplish this so as not to damage any roots during the excavation process.
Symptoms of girdling take several forms. If the root flare is not easily visible, i.e., the tree trunk comes straight up out of the ground like a telephone pole, this is a symptom. Other symptoms may appear in the canopy as premature defoliation in the fall or delayed leaf set in the spring. The areas affected in the canopy correspond to the area of the trunk being girdled below. Other indicators include nutritional deficiency-like symptoms. Another symptom, poor shoot elongation, gives the appearance that the foliage is hugging close to the branches.
Girdling, or choking, causes a constriction of the major flare roots of a tree. It can be a result of wire or poly-twine that was not removed at planting, roots from the tree itself, or roots from adjacent shrubs and vines. Physiological girdling can result from the build-up of soil around the base of the tree from fill, the initial planted depth being too deep, or even overly dense ground cover planting, such as Asian Jasmine, planted at the base of a tree. Base work is needed to identify and correct the problem.
All of the preceding conditions, which are preventable, ultimately affect the function of the vascular system. Comprising the vascular system can damage or kill the tree. When correcting the problem, care should be taken not to inflict further damage to the tree. If the flare is not visible, it is essential to excavate the soil immediately around the trunk or cut the ground cover back until it is visible. If a root, wire or twine is girdling the tree, we carefully cut the girdling object. Excessively thick ground cover is often mistakenly overlooked as a contributor to the problems a tree may be having. The ground cover can have the same net effect as fill. Roots are anatomically adapted to be in contact with moist soil but trunk tissue is not. The moisture in the soil is absorbed passively by the bark. The accumulation of soil or ground cover around the trunk inhibits normal gaseous exchange, promotes deterioration and decay of the trunk tissue and encourages the development of roots that ultimately girdle the tree.
The recognition of these problems is a part of our site visit. Our trained staff will properly supervise the correction of these problems.
If you think your trees are in need of a “Heimlich maneuver” then don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for a site visit with one of our certified arborists. Please call our office at 214-528-2266 or 817-581-4502, or email us at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to provide just the CPR that your trees need!