Girdling roots on a Maple tree
Girdling roots on a Maple tree

Early fall color and leaf drop, yellowing leaves during the growing season, a thin or sparse tree canopy and a tree trunk that looks like a telephone pole at soil level are all signs of Girdling Root Syndrome (GRS). GRS is commonly found on Maple and Linden trees, but other trees and shrubs in the urban landscape can also develop GRS symptoms. Some trees are genetically prone to girdling roots (Norway Maples, Lindens) and other situations can be due to how the tree was planted. Planting a tree too deep leaves the tree unable to support the nutrients and water it needs to survive. The tree then grows new roots from the trunk, at the soil surface. Unfortunately these roots do not provide structural stability and may grow in a circular pattern around the trunk, eventually cutting off the flow of water and nutrients throughout the tree.

Maple and Linden trees are particularly prone to developing Girdling Root Syndrome, but Magnolia and Pine trees are also commonly affected. Other tree varieties have the ability to overcome GRS and are not severely affected.  A visible root flare (the area where the roots and trunk meet) at soil level is critical for proper tree development. If this is not apparent, root excavation may be necessary to determine the best plan of action for correcting GRS. In less severe cases, there are methods for safely removing girdling roots, without affecting the tree stability.  Severe cases can often lead to the demise of the tree.  It’s important to correct GRS early in a tree’s lifespan, if possible.

Kramer Tree Specialists offers the services of Certified Arborists that can properly diagnose and propose solutions in the best interests of the tree. Call us today to have an Arborist visit your property.

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