As you dig a trench or hole near a tree, you run risk of cutting and damaging the roots of nearby trees. If damaged too heavily, or cut too closely, the result of this can be a decline in your tree’s health, and even to the fall of your tree. When a tree falls, especially a mature one, damages can range anywhere from holes in the roof and smashed cars, to severely hurt or even killed persons.In order to prevent such things, you should learn about the art of root pruning, so you know what to avoid in the future.

What To Watch Out For

Younger trees have a higher chance of recovering from root damage than older ones, but generally speaking, you should always avoid cutting a root thicker than an inch in diameter. Any roots even thicker than that may likely play a role in the main structural support system of the tree, and cutting them could cause the tree to lean or even fall.

Additionally, you should also avoid root pruning on trees which are leaning. When digging a trench near a tree, you should also watch out for the quality of the soil, because soil which is compact or has poor drainage will force trees to keep their roots close to the surface in order to get their nutrients from rain water. Thus, the risks of damaging a major root are much higher.

When it comes to cutting roots, you will want to cut as little roots as possible, and with a sharp tool so tearing can be prevented. You should also never cut too close to the trunk since that will significantly increase the chances of severely harming the tree. Your tree should be as healthy as possible when you do have to prune in order to increase its chances of a fully recovery. Some species of trees will also be able to handle root pruning better than others.

How To Avoid Root Pruning?

The best way to deal with root pruning is to avoid it altogether. You can do this by considering the following alternate options:

  • cover protruding roots with more soil
  • build around the roots of the tree
  • strengthen concrete with steel and re-pour it over top
  • use elevation in your design to avoid trenching
  • relocate the structure entirely

Additionally, if this seems to be too much work to handle, call in the professional Tree Care service in Bay Area to do the needful. Not only do they have the skilled know-how but they understand all aspects of looking after the trees.They have licensed and insured crew and all of the tools to ensure that the roots are pruned as per requirement.


Anyone who really cares about their trees knows how hard it is to find a good tree trimmer. I’ve used both major name brands, and self employed tree trimmers, and have never been very satisfied, until now. ArborWorks trimmed my trees as carefully as I would have, if I knew how to climb trees!Don McIntyre, owner, responded within two days of my call, and his estimate was fair and thorough. He personally brought the foreman of the crew to my site to go over the job the evening before the crew would actually arrive. Don also visits the site as the work is performed, to make sure everything goes smoothly.If my trees could vocalize, they’d sing about the space created for light to enter the crown, and how good it feels to have the weight off the ends of the limbs. Even neighbors have come by to complement me on how good the trees look. “Best ever”.I only wish I had known about ArborWorks sooner. It took me 32 years to find them. I hope my trees will forgive me for taking so long…
Karen K. Mountain View, CA


Arborworks Inc. Diamond Certified