Common Tree Problems


Girdled Roots:

Girdled roots are roots that cross over each other, much like crossing branches.

At the base of the tree where it contacts the ground, roots should radiate out in all directions and the trunk should widen. This is called “root flare”. A lack of root flare is a sign that girdled roots may be a problem.

If a root turns back and crosses over other roots, it will strangle the crossed roots as it grows. This compromises the anchoring of the tree and the nurturing capacity of the root system. If corrected early, the tree can safely continue growing to maturity.


Double Stems:

Double stems are the leading cause of tree failure.

Branches should extend out from the main stem, like the horizontal branches in the picture to the left. Years ago, this tree had a branch come out at an upright angle parallel with the stem. The tree nurtured the upright stem at an accelerated rate so both stems grew large quickly. Gradually these stems competed with each other for dominance and resulted in this double stem.

The immediate danger is the union of the two stems. As in the picture, the union has now closed, but the stems are still thickening. The stems will thicken into each other, called included bark, wedging themselves apart until one or both stems fail.

This example is a simple one. Many larger trees have several stems that will require several prunings over the years to correct this problem. Professional advice is key, first to assess the situation and secondly to formulate a plan.


Rubbing Branches:

Branches rubbing and crossing each other is a very common problem. If pruned when the tree is young it is a small and easy task. Pruning is needed to remove the physical contact between the branches. Otherwise the bark becomes damaged, the branch will die, and disease can infect this and other branches.



Storm Damage

After a storm, trees can be pushed into positions that are very hazardous to deal with. A tree on the ground may look safe to cut but can be under great tension, ready to spring, causing further damage to people and property. If you have a tree which has been damaged in a storm, call a professional tree service to come and assess the situation, and to remove immediate hazards. If your tree is on municipal property, alert your public works department of the hazard and they will send a crew to deal with it as soon as possible.




Compacted Soil

Soil can become compacted because of: cars parked under trees, foot traffic, or construction equipment to name just a few examples. Deep root aerating can help loosen up soil allowing water and nutrients to flow to the tree’s roots.




Trees Near Wires

Trees in or near wires require special care. Every situation requires careful assessment of clearance and safety measures.  Depending on the situation, the tree may be in a jurisdiction that should not be dealt with by a private tree company. We can advise you of your next step: should you call the city, hydro or another authority?



Diseased or Dying

Eventually trees weaken due to age, root disturbance, physical injury, and many other reasons. When a tree is in decline its weakened state literally sends out a signal alerting insects to its condition. They respond by infecting the tree, thereby speeding up the decline and contributing to a hazardous condition. It is important to be aware of neighbouring trees of the same species that might also become infected. For this reason, it is important to respond quickly and remove any of the felled tree’s wood.

A professional assessment is important to determine the rate of decline in order to decide if pruning is an option or if removal is required.