The key to a tree’s health is the earth it grows in. No surprise there. However, much less commonly known is that the soil level can not be too high around the trunk of the tree, or else health problems begin to occur. It seems like everywhere we look, mulch is piled like a volcanic peak around the trunk and soil and rubble is being pushed up around trees due to landscaping changes and construction back-fill.
When soil is mounded too high it signals to the cells to produce more roots, above the original root flare. These are known as girdling roots because they end up wrapping around the trees other roots and result in restricting the flow of nutrients. Also a healthy root flare normally develops bark intended for exposure to air and not made to endure the conditions underneath ground. When this part of the tree is covered over it develops fungal infections, depicted here.
Using a tool that blows concentrated air, we are able to gently remove the excess soil from around the base of trees without damaging the tree. Once the root flare is exposed we can see what might be going amiss. In many cases we are able to remove the girdling roots and they do not grow back once the soil grade has been corrected. The fungal infections are also able to dry-out once the root flare has an opportunity to air-out.