Predicting Tree Failure (Part 3)

Stem Girdling Roots
Stem girdling roots are roots at or below the soil surface that partially or completely encircle the trunk of the tree. Over time, they begin to stress the health of the tree, including the root system. The girdling roots eventually cause compression of the lower trunk, creating a weak point that is often the point of failure in high windstorms. Many stem girdling root problems can be prevented by root pruning pot bound trees before planting and planting all trees at the correct depth—the first branch roots just below the soil surface.

Site Problems
Common site problems that may contribute to tree failure are: poor soils, confined rooting areas, and inappropriate species for the location (such as large trees in small boulevard strips). Most of the problems are directly or indirectly related to lack of oxygen reaching the roots of the trees. When oxygen is lacking, root systems decline and tree stability declines. It is important to know your site situation, including soil types and rooting volume, before trees are selected and planted.

Summary
While tree failure can not be 100% predicted, there are ways to determine if tree failure is possible. Decay, poor maintenance practices, stem girdling roots, and site problems can be indicators of possible future damage. Take care to analyze these conditions and take preventative action if possible.

Keep In Mind
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