Root Pruning Oak Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Tampa, Fl
Question by meaculpa
February 16, 2011
I want to prune surface roots from my oak trees. I've got one raising my driveway and others interfering with grass and plants. What kind of tool do I need?

Answer from NGA
February 16, 2011


Pruning roots off a tree can be a tricky situation. If only one or two roots are cut every few years, the tree may not be severely damaged, but will be stressed nevertheless. Also this practice to some degree weakens the tree's anchorage strength which may result in problems during a storm with high winds. Knowing this, you may decide not to prune, but if you want to go ahead with the root pruning you'll need a shovel and a pruning saw. Dig around the root so you have access to it then use the pruning saw to make a clean, straight cut through the root. When you've removed the offending root, fill in the hole and tamp the earth down well. The cut will heal over all by itself so no wound dressing will be necessary.

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