Caring for trees in Portland Oregon since 1924

Portland Tree Root Health Care

Trees are not only beautiful, they also play an important role in our environment and increase property value.  This is why General Tree Service offers a variety of tree services to maintain and improve the health of the trees in your Portland Oregon yard.  We want you to enjoy them for years to come.  

Prevent problems with tree maintenance

It’s not surprising that trees need occasional TLC as a tree can represent 30, 40 or many more years of growth.  When a large tree has to be removed, it cannot easily (if at all) be replaced and starting over with a smaller tree is not ideal so your best option is to avoid problems from developing.

The goal of any tree maintenance service is prevention as a healthy tree is nature’s best defense against insect and disease.  Here at General Tree, we want to do what we can to keep your majestic trees growing strong for years to come.

Root health care is key

Tree Root Mass

The root mass is the tree’s natural delivery system for water and nutrients and you can’t have a healthy tree if it’s not getting the water and nutrients it needs.  Think of the roots as straws.

When girdling roots are restricting the straws, they have trouble drawing up water and nutrients into all parts of the tree.   That’s just one example; there’s other things that create problems. 

Identify tree issues with site evaluation

To start, a site evaluation by one of our arborists is done to identify factors for the tree’s poor performance, such as problematic soil conditions (in which case a soil analysis may be done), small leaf size, crown dieback or lack of root flair.  Just to name a few.

After examining your tree, we’ll be able to recommend a program based on the root zone available to treat while addressing all health concerns of the tree.

Root health care treatments

  1. Root Zone Enhancement
  2. Root Collar Excavation

Both treatments are part of General Tree Service’s holistic approach to tree health as they focus on restoring ideal growing conditions to the root mass and that increases growth performance.

Root Zone Enhancement (RZE) procedureRoot Zone Enchancement

The homeowner needs to thoroughly water the area 2 days before the procedure to saturate the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches.  No watering the day before will allow excess water to drain and leave the soil in perfect working condition.

  1. Determine the area to be worked by taking into account aesthetics, customer preference and location of nearby sidewalks, fences, etc.  A minimum of 3 to 4 feet from the trunk is recommended though it may extend out to the dripline.
  2. Till the soil in the targeted area with an air spade to de-compact the soil and expose the root mass of the tree.
  3. Root pruning (if necessary) is done to remove any girdling roots that are hindering the tree from distributing water and nutrients.
  4. Use the air spade to mix amendments (per prescription and may consists of compost, biochar, mycorrhizae and GTS special blend of fertilizer) into the soil and lastly, cover the area in mulch. 

It’s crucial to thoroughly water the tree for several days after the treatment and on a weekly basis after that, especially if it’s hot and dry. 

The purpose of a RZE treatment is to restore the ideal growing conditions found in nature.  The first couple of years after it’s done, the tree responds to the de-compacted biologically-active fertile soil by growing fine feeder roots to better absorb the rich nutrients and water.

When is a Root Zone Enhancement (RZE) beneficial?

  • Aging tree in declining health
  • Alleviate compacted soil
  • Buried crown or grade changes
  • Girdling roots are present
  • Promote growth in younger trees
  • Invigorate recovery of a damaged tree
  • Help establish newly planted or transplanted trees
Root Health Care Services

Depending on the tree type and/or its root mass, sometimes a RZE cannot be done and in that case, a RCE may be recommended.

Root Collar Excavation (RCE) treatment

A smaller procedure, a RCE involves exposing only the root flair and buttress roots.  After exposing the roots with an air spade, one of our arborist will do an exam and prune any girdling roots that may be causing problems. 

Once done, amendments may be added to the area before covering it in mulch.  As with a RZE, it’s important to water the tree for several days after the treatment.

Root Collar Excavation

What results will you see?

Results vary from tree to tree but usually the tree will have more foliage the next growing season.  Since the soil around the tree has been de-compacted, homeowners often notice that water is absorbed faster.

If a tree is already showing signs of decline, it’s more difficult to undo the damage though that doesn’t mean the tree can’t recover.

Trees can be incredibly resilient when damaging elements are removed and corrective measures are put in place thereby allowing the tree to flourish. 

Follow-up services may be needed

After doing a RHC treatment, other services may be needed to aid in the tree’s recovery.  Examples would be removing dead branches from the crown or structural pruning to make sure the tree is physically strong and balanced as it grows. 

Consulting arborist services

Any time is a good time to ask questions so if you have concerns about your favorite tree or wondering if cutting some roots will hurt your tree, call us.

Anne-Marie is an ISA Certified Arborist with a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification.

She provides consultations on all tree-related issues from root evaluations to tree preservation plans for developers.

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