By: Hannah McGee
In honor of #NationalLoveaTreeDay today, we wanted to shed some light on an often forgotten part of the tree: the roots.
While many people know that serious damage to the trunk or branches of tree can jeopardize its survival, the roots are an often forgotten, but critical, part of the tree. There are a few ways to determine the ‘Critical Root Zone’ (CRZ) of a tree, but it can be generally assumed that the CRZ occurs in the ground to the same extent as the branches. In this radius, care should be taken to avoid root damage to the tree. Damage can be caused by storage of heavy materials, heavy foot traffic, trenching, and other types of digging that may damage roots. It is especially important to protect roots over 4 inches in diameter; if they are cut, the tree may fall over or die. If you’ve ever wondered why trees planted along urban sidewalks often have metal grates, this is why! Soil compaction from pedestrian traffic can eventually kill a tree entirely.
So remember, protect our trees both above and below ground!