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Over 50% of a tree’s living tissue is found below the ground. The active roots, providing the vast majority of a tree’s water and nutrients, are located primarily in the top 6” of the soil. If soil is added around the root zone of an established tree, these roots can become too deep and will begin to affect the health of the tree. Thanks to air excavation, we can safely correct sub soil issues with a single procedure.

Safely Treat Root Issues with Air Spade

To correct improper planting depth and other sub soil issues, the soil must be removed from around the root zone – without damaging the tree’s sensitive roots. For this reason, an arborist will use an Air Spade to remove the soil. Using an air compressor, the Air Spade’s specialized nozzle forces air into the soil at 2x the speed of sound. This supersonic air flow can be utilized to reduce soil compaction, increase aerations, and can be used to incorporate organic matter into existing urban soils without damaging the sensitive root system. The Air Spade allows the arborist to physically remove excessive soil and regrade the area if necessary, so the roots are once again just a few inches from the top of the soil.

Root Collar Excavations

A common treatment our ISA certified arborists perform are root collar excavations. Performed with our Air Spade tool, this treatment is designed to correct soil levels & address problems at the base of trees & shrubs. Buried root collars greatly increase susceptibility to infections, soil borne pathogens and general decay from excessive moisture while not allowing the transport of nutrients and H2O from the soil. Performing root collar excavations greatly improves your tree’s chances of survival while significantly reducing the risk of disease and insect infestations.

Root Invigoration Treatment

Our root invigoration treatment is undoubtedly our most results-oriented service for trees & shrubs in any stage of decline. Whether you’re seeing foliar discoloration or significant decline in health, this is usually your best option. Root invigoration combines correction of multiple sub-grade issues with proactive incorporation or organic matters to dramatically improve site & soil conditions permanently. While performing this service, you can almost feel the trees gratitude as you radically improve many factors within the site conditions that ultimately determine health & vigor. It’s almost like you have given the tree a V8! Don’t be surprised if you see a noticeable difference in your tree’s health in only a couple of months, sometimes even sooner!

Common Questions About Air Excavation

Why is proper root depth so important?

A tree’s roots need oxygen the same as we do, which is the primary reason they are found so close to the surface. If they are too deep, the available oxygen begins to decrease and the roots can suffocate. Forest trees do not often have issues with planting depth as a naturally sprout seed could only become established in the proper soil depth. Urban trees, however, are often planted too deep when they are installed and are also more likely to have soil grade changes occur after they are established. Even adding a few inches of soil atop an existing root system can cause a tree to begin to decline. Decline from grade changes and improper planting depth can take several years to visibly affect a tree’s health, making them a difficult problem to diagnose and correct. Having a tree program in place, with regular evaluations from a professional, can help to detect and diagnose these types of hidden problems before they cause irreparable damage.

What are some common signs of improper root depth?

There are a few signs that your tree has improper root depth: dieback from the top of the tree (could indicate girdling roots), early fall color, sprouting or suckering from the base of the tree, decay near the base of the tree, increased likelihood of stem girdling roots, weakened or thin canopy, and mature trees with no visible root flare.

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