Most people know about pruning branches, but have you ever heard about pruning the roots? You probably haven’t which is why we have put together this quick guide.

Purpose of Root Pruning

Whether it be a potted plant or a free standing tree or shrub, there may always come a time in which you need to transplant an already established plant, whether it be for the sake of their survival, for your special needs or any other reason.During the process, you will want to ensure that as many of its roots as possible survive the transplant to ensure maximum chances of its survival. The roots and soil which will come up and join it in its new location are referred to as the root ball.

A healthy bush or tree will have far and widespread roots which make it nearly impossible to include the entirety of them in the root ball, however, it is well known that the more roots make it, the better are the chances of it adapting to its new home.This is where root pruning comes in. Through pruning, the risk of transplant shock is reduced since lengthy roots will be replaced by ones near the trunk which can become a part of the root ball taken to the new location.

The process of root pruning requires the longer roots to be clipped about half a year prior to the transplant since this will give the now shortened roots a time to heal and grow. This means that trees which are planned to be transplanted in spring will need to be pruned in fall and vice versa.

How To Root Prune Trees And Shrubs

To start, you will need to mark a circle in the soil surrounding the tree or shrub you plan to transplant in six months. According to the size of the plant, your circle will need to be bigger or smaller and roughly the size of the root ball you will transport to the next location along with the rest of the plant.

Next, tie up the lower branches so they won’t be damaged during the pruning and dig a trench along the circle. During this process, you will need to cut all the roots you come across until you have dug deep enough to include the majority of the roots. Once done, you can fill the trench back up with the previously extracted soil.Additionally, you will need to hire the professional services of a tree removal service in Bay Area so that they can take care of the tree son the property.


We hired Arborworks to remove 10 trees at our new house. There was a small overgrown forest going on. I don’t think anyone ever trimmed anything in this yard! Not only did they remove the trees and ground the stumps, they also took out our other items we had cut down ourselves.The biggest tree was almost three stories, you could see it towering over the house from the front and we have a two story house. Could not believe how efficiently they cut down that monster tree. Their guy who was in the tree – WOW he made it look easy but I know that it wasn’t! Knew what limbs to cut and where the limbs were going to fall. Was very impressed! We were there when they took all the trees out and I can tell you they definitely know what they are doing. They asked if we wanted the chips/mulch from the stump grinder otherwise they would have taken it away.I would hire them again in a heart beat and I’ve already recommended them! Great prices and GREAT service.
George R. Palo Alto, CAPalo Alto, CA


Arborworks Inc. Diamond Certified