Thread: Cutting a root?

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  1. #11
    Oak
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    108

    RE: Cutting a root?

    well....my earlier post is still valid...but that pic makes it look like it is a circling root that will more likely than not become a problem. I would wait until late fall and excavate the root. find its origin if possible and prune it off. The sooner the better for tree health, removing it this year will be better than waiting for it to get bigger and become a problem.
    "EDUCATION begins when you question something. EDUCATION occurs when you have resolved your doubts" Alex Shigo

  2. #12
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Cutting a root?

    watson -

    I took some photos with my phone camera just a few minutes ago. I did some "finger excavation" of the surface root in question, just by scraping a tiny amount of soil off of that root, and I uncovered another root (it's the one nearer to the top of the photo, and lighter in color) just underneath it that is growing in a different direction. These roots do not appear to be circling the trunk, the larger surface root in question comes from deep in the ground and up to the surface, then shoots behind the tree. Another root (under just a thin layer of soil) is growing just under it going in a different direction.

    Here is the photo - in the 2nd photo I simply drew in some arrows showing the direction of where the roots are radiating to/from, as far as I could tell with some very light finger excavation. Both of the roots are growing radially out toward the edge of the soil mound underneath the mulch. I'd have to do some extensive digging to see where they originate, the surface root really seems to original from several inches deep in the soil, I don't think it could be excavated completely.




  3. #13
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sylva NC zone 7
    Posts
    276

    RE: Cutting a root?

    A couple of my trees does this a little.

  4. #14
    Oak
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    108

    RE: Cutting a root?

    I would deffinately cut the one closest to the trunk. From what you describe it is an undesireable root structure and will be a problem later on. You can cut what is exposed in the pic. on both ends of what you have exposed. The ideal root structure is all roots radiating from the trunk outward. Not up and around. The trunk should be the hub and the roots the spokes, no circling. it would probably be best to cut them both IMO.
    "EDUCATION begins when you question something. EDUCATION occurs when you have resolved your doubts" Alex Shigo

  5. #15
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Cutting a root?

    Thanks for the input, watson. I will cut them both. Just to double-check, I should do this when the tree is dormant, right? I figured I would hold off until late Winter. Also wanted to make sure cutting these 2 roots won't cause major harm to the tree or stunt its growth in a significant fashion. This Red Maple is growing fast and vigorously right now, I'd hate to stunt its growth by cutting a main feeder root.

  6. #16
    Oak
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    108

    RE: Cutting a root?

    if you do it over winter it shouldn't effect the tree much at all.
    "EDUCATION begins when you question something. EDUCATION occurs when you have resolved your doubts" Alex Shigo

  7. #17
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Cutting a root?

    watson -

    I went ahead and cut one of the offending roots today (the largest one at the surface that cuts in front of the tree trunk). Temps have been in the low 20F range the past few days and the ground is fairly frozen. This Red Maple is well into dormancy and the root cut relatively easily with a pair of pruning shears. I will do some soil digging later on in the Winter or the next time the soil thaws a bit so that I can dig into a bit more for further inspection of the offending roots.

  8. #18
    Oak
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    108

    RE: Cutting a root?

    cool. I have not been on this forum in quite some time. Good to hear from ya. I think it would be good to do some exploration in the root zone. Just be cautious of how much of the root mass is being removed. Just like crown pruning too much is a bad thing. I would probe around a bit and make a plan for the next few years. I would mostly be concerned with stem girdling roots and roots that are girdling main buttress roots.

    Cheers.
    "EDUCATION begins when you question something. EDUCATION occurs when you have resolved your doubts" Alex Shigo

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