Girdling roots strangle the tree and make it much more difficult for the tree to take up nutrients. A root collar excavation is necessary to remedy the problem.
What is It?
Essentially, girdling roots are a "strangling" of the trunk of a tree by its own roots. Girdling roots are a very common stress-causing phenomenon for trees. Due to any of a number of factors, roots will grow tightly around the trunk of the tree. This can cause a disruption in the transport of water and nutrients.
Girdling roots will often be the result of poor planting techniques. A common planting error is planting a tree in holes that are too small for its root system. Planting trees too deeply is another common potential cause of girdling roots. These and other environmental factors can cause roots to grow in a circular pattern around the trunk.
How to Identify:
Girdling roots can be identified by the growing of roots around the trunk of the tree. Overtime as the trunk and roots both increase in diameter, the roots will choke the trunk which will disrupt the uptake of water and nutrients into the upper sections of the tree.
If Left Untreated:
If noticed in younger trees it is possible that the problematic roots can be removed before any extensive damage is caused. In older trees root removal is not possible and the tree could suffer serious damage. However even in cases where the affected tree is not damaged directly by the girdling roots, the tree will still be weakened and made more susceptible to other diseases and insect infestations.
A root collar excavation must be performed in order to fix girdled roots.