Tree Root Protection

by fse-admin - / 04.05.2016

Tree Root Protection

More than a third of a tree is usually hidden beneath the ground but although hidden, the roots are vitally important in a number of ways. Fine roots gather the water and nutrients the tree needs to grow and survive, and these are carried through coarse, woody roots to the stem. The coarse roots have the additional role of supporting the tree and resisting the overturning force of the wind on the crown. The combined network of fine and coarse roots holds the soil together, and on steep slopes they help to resist soil erosion and landslides.

We are increasingly aware of the risks of damage to tree roots from a range of maintenance and construction activities in the urban environment. Roots are killed by physical damage during cable laying, pipe-laying and road alterations, and from soil compaction or regrading during building construction.


Root Cutting

Digging, grading, and trenching associated with construction and underground utility installation can be quite damaging to roots. A tree’s root system can extend horizontally a distance 1 to 3 times greater than the height of a tree. It is important to cut as far away from a tree as possible to prevent damage that can compromise tree health and stability. Cutting under a tree’s crown can reduce tree vitality. Cutting roots close to the trunk can severely damage a tree and limit its ability to stay upright in storms.


Soil Compaction

An ideal soil for root growth and development contains about 50 percent pore space for water and air movement. Heavy construction equipment can compact soil and dramatically reduce pore space. Compaction inhibits root growth, limits water penetration, and decreases oxygen needed for root survival.


Smothering roots by adding soil

The majority of fine water-and-mineral-absorbing roots are in the upper 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) of soil where oxygen and moisture levels tend to be best suited for growth. Even a few inches of soil piled over the root system to change the grade can smother fine roots and eventually lead to larger root death.


If you are planning to build or remodel your home and have tree roots that need protecting – or if you are the owner of a tree which is under a preservation order, we can supply and erect suitable fencing to provide a Protected Zone. A fenced off area around the tree to be retained to eliminate tree damage during development. The size of the protected zone is either the distance of the crown spread of the tree (the width of the tree at its widest) or half the height of the tree, whichever is the greater. We can also provide tree surveys and land clearance of tree stocks prior to building work commencing.


For further information, please give our team a call on 01473 635193.