Oak trees are quite common, but did you know they can live for hundreds of years? It’s true, and many other types of trees can also live that long.

Trees need what all other plants need: water, sunlight, and nutrients. They also need strong roots to acquire these things. Unfortunately, a tree’s roots can experience damage.

How much root damage can a tree take, though?

Continue reading to learn about root damage, how it happens, and signs your trees need attention.


How Does Root Damage Occur?


A tree cannot survive without roots. Its roots extract moisture and nutrients from the ground, providing life to the tree. While tree roots can extend deep into the ground, most roots occupy the ground’s top 6″ to 24″ of soil.

Tree roots can grow in any direction and can be very thick. They tend to get thicker as they age and grow. Thicker tree roots are harder to damage than thinner ones.

Even though you can’t see the roots, they can suffer damage in many ways. First, any form of work in the area can destroy them. This includes digging, trenching, and bulldozing.

You can even destroy tree roots by digging up areas in your yard for planting other vegetation.

Additionally, tree roots also experience damage from droughts. Without enough water, they can die.

Your trees might also experience root damage if you excessively fertilize them or use the wrong materials. In any case, root problems can lead to tree damage.


What Problems Occur From Root Damage?


Your trees rely on their roots to provide nutrition and water. Without strong, healthy roots, tree damage occurs.

The first thing you might notice is leaf problems. The leaves might start turning brown or falling off. A tree might not produce leaves if the roots are severely damaged.

A tree that doesn’t produce leaves when it should often indicates a dying or dead tree.

If left untreated, root problems can lead to losing the tree. You can often stop this from occurring by getting tree services.


How Much Root Damage Can a Tree Take?


Tree roots can spread as much as two to three times the tree’s height. A large tree can handle a lot of root damage. But at some point, the damage will be too much.

Experts use percentages to explain how much damage a tree can take. Most believe that a tree can handle up to 40% root damage.

If a tree incurs less damage, it has a significant chance of surviving. However, the tree will suffer when more than 40% of the roots experience damage.

The tree might start losing its ability to replenish the nutrients and water it needs at this point. If you ignore the problem, the tree will eventually die.

You might be able to save the tree with the proper tree care.


What Signs Indicate Your Trees Need Attention?


Hiring a tree company is a smart move when you notice signs of problems. Here are some of the most common signs that indicate problems:


Brown Leaves


A tree’s leaves reveal its health. That’s why a healthy tree has lush, nice leaves. It’s helpful to look at the tree’s leaves occasionally to gauge its health.

You’ll know there’s a problem when you see brown leaves when they should be green. You can also sense a problem when a tree doesn’t produce any or many leaves.


Dying Branches


Damaged roots weaken a tree. Therefore, you’ll likely notice dying branches on your trees after root damage. Contact a tree company if you see this happening to your trees.


Half of Tree Loses Vigor


Root damage can also lead to a tree losing its vigor. It’s not abnormal for this to affect only one side of the tree. If the roots only encounter damage on one side, they might still feed on the other side.

Learning all the signs of dying trees can help you save them. Additionally, learning the signs you need tree trimming can also help you care for your trees.


How Can You Protect Your Trees?


Preventing damage to a tree’s roots is the best way to avoid damage. To prevent it, use caution when digging or building things in your yard. Remember, a tree’s roots can extend far beyond the tree itself.

Tree maintenance is also helpful for avoiding tree damage. Tree maintenance consists of several steps:




Pruning is a process all trees need. Yet, you might rarely do this to your trees.

Pruning involves trimming tree branches. It helps your trees stay even and balanced. It also encourages them to grow.

In addition, it keeps areas around the trees safer by removing branches touching power lines or structures.


Fertilizing and Watering


Your trees might also require watering and fertilizing. Make a habit of watering them as they grow or during times of drought.

Most trees won’t need a lot of fertilizer, but they can benefit from it once or twice a year.

Following these tips can help your trees live longer.

There are times you can save a tree after root damage. For example, you could transplant the tree if it’s small enough. Moving the tree to a safer location might give it a chance to regrow.

A tree company might also use various techniques to nurture a tree after root damage. Aeration is one such technique.

Aeration is a process involving drilling holes into the ground. The holes provide air, which can help roots receive nutrition and air.

However, they might not be able to save it if the root damage exceeds 40%.


Seek Help From Tree Experts


How much root damage can a tree take? Most large trees can handle some root damage. Too much root damage will cause a tree to die, though.

Do your trees need some work? Are you worried some of your trees have root damage?

We can help. At Grace Tree Service, we offer 24-hour services. We’re a family-owned business and have helped people just like you for the last 20 years.

Call us today for a free quote or to schedule services for your trees!