Stem-Girdling is the term used to describe roots that encircle, confine, and limit the growth of a tree trunk. This problem often originates in a nursery container when roots grow to the container wall and then turn back and continue to grow in a circular pattern. If not corrected at planting, these roots will remain once the tree is in the landscape. Stem-girdling roots can cause excessive soil in the root-collar. Sometimes this is observed in a landscape when soil or mulch causes mounding of the turf at the base of the tree.
Stem-girdling roots can cause weakness in trees such as, shorter branch growth, small leaves, early autumn color, die back in the trees canopy, and the tree can be prone to damage in wind.
Here is an example of a stem-girdling root in a Maple Tree.
stem-girdling root in a maple tree
In many cases stem-gidling roots are evident in township trees, or trees that have been planted by contractors in new development, between a sidewalk and street curb. You will typically be able to see the rapping or circling root where the tree trunk meets the ground. At times you will notice lifted slabs of sidewalk concrete adjacent to the tree which can be a trip hazard.
If you observe a tree on your property with stem-girdling roots, you should monitor the tree for some of the problems listed above. Stem-girdling roots will not cause a rapid decline in a tree. In fact the condition is, at times, observed in mature trees. Removing dead branches from a tree with stem-gidling roots is advantageous and will promote new growth, improving the overall health of the tree. Of course, if you choose to remove the tree, Stump Grinding can be completed to remove the stump and stem-girdling roots.
As always you can call B&M Tree Service LLC for an evaluation, and free estimate for your tree!