Root behavior and Root Collar Disorder

This property owner called with concerns about the browning tree pictured above.

Call us if your trees are browning unseasonably!  There are many causes, so let us help you figure out what's wrong.

The browning evergreen above is suffering from Root Collar Disorder, or "girdling root".  The simple explanation is that due to improper planting practice, the tree's roots grew around its trunk and unknowingly strangled itself as they expanded.  Causes of the disorder in the tree are likely:

-Tree was planted about a foot too deep.  Look closely, and you'll see a dark ring around the trunk.  That ring is the dirt line before we dug it out.  The root system should start just a few inches below the top of the soil in order to absorb oxygen and nutrients, which are most densely located in the top few inches of soil.  The roots grew upward in search for those nutrients, and subsequently around their own trunk.

-Irrigation system was integrated too high in the soil relative to the roots.  This gave further reason for the roots to grow up and around the collar.  While roots do need to grow close to the surface for oxygen, subsystems of roots also need to chase ground water down to establish a firm hold.