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What to Do if a Tree Uprooted?

It’s getting windy this week! We’ve already been called out to a few homes that have seen some trees down on their property. Sometimes tree split, lose a branch or completely uproot.

Trees can be uprooted by severe storms or wind gusts. Throughout the Puget Sound region this week we are expected to see gusts up to 50 mph and that’s enough to take down a few trees, especially if they’ve been saturated by the rain that we’ve seen the last couple of days.

When a tree gets uprooted it could cause serious damage to both the root system, the tree and your property. The tree may not be salvageable, but the land and ground around it might be.

More: The Best way to deal with storm-damaged trees

You never know what type of tree is going to be uprooted. If it has a shallow root system, just a little bit of saturation from a few days of rain could make it susceptible to uprooting. It also depends on the type of soil your property has. If there’s a lot of clay in the soil, it can easily uproot a tree as the roots just slide around on the clay.

90% of roots exist in the top 4 to 18 inches underneath the ground. That’s a pretty shallow root system for most trees. The tree plate bears the brunt of the tree but can be less than 10% of the trees total roots. This could make a top-heavy tree susceptible to tipping over and taking the roots with it.

Read More: How to tell if a tree is diseased?

A good way to tell if a root system is damaged or may not be strong enough to support the tree is to look for mushrooms, puffballs and other fungus organisms growing around the tree. This can indicate that there are fungal diseases in the roots causing spores to grow in mushrooms.

The age and health of the tree can also determine how resistant it is to uprooting. If you ever noticed the trees a root system moving and swaying in the ground during a heavy windstorm, this can indicate a shallow system and the tree could be susceptible to uprooting or toppling.

Uprooted trees

Can an uprooted tree be replanted?

If a large tree has been uprooted there’s very little we can do to save it. These extensive root systems draw water and nutrients from the soil.  So not only does uprooting create significant damage to the system but the roots may not get sufficient nutrients to continue the growth of the tree once it’s been uprighted.

If it’s a smaller tree that doesn’t have such a massive root structure, it could be replanted as long as you pack soil around the exposed roots and give it plenty of water. Once the smaller tree has been replanted you have to give it additional care. Prune any broken branches but don’t remove any more than necessary. Avoid fertilizing the tree during the healing process as it can actually damage the roots further. You want to wait until the tree has established a new growth system before adding fertilizer or pruning again to regain its shape. Read more about deep-root fertilization

If you’re concerned about an uprooted tree on your property or need to get rid of a tree that is in danger of being uprooted give us a call.

image By Rob and Stephanie Levy from Townsville, Australia (african mahogany down on Glendale drive Annandale) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons