Removing Tree Roots: What Are the Risks?

Removing tree roots can kill a healthy tree as the roots play a crucial role in several processes. The underground root system serves as an anchor, drawing in nutrients and moisture and storing excess food for winter. 

Keeping the root system healthy is the best way to avoid needing expert tree removal in Port Orange, FL. However, if larger roots damage walkways or threaten a building’s foundation, you may not have a choice. 

In such instances, it’s best to rely on a professional tree service for removing tree roots or installing root barriers. In this post, the Dead or Alive Tree Service LLC team goes over what can happen if an amateur tries to take on this task.

The Effects of Root Death in Trees

Less Vigor

Removing tree roots improperly will damage the trees’ ability to draw the moisture and nutrients it needs. Over time, the tree will begin to ail and look a little less lush. If you do nothing, the tree can begin to die. You will notice signs of branch dieback, stunted growth, and leaf yellowing.

If the tree was healthy to begin with, it might make a slow recovery; however, it will take a few years. Less healthy, distressed, or older trees will take far longer to recover (if they ever do). If the damage is significant enough, the tree will die.

More Prone to Pest Infestation 

A stressed tree is less able to fight back a pest infestation. While a healthy tree is resilient, a distressed one will ail further due to pest damage. Eradicating the pests is crucial if you wish to save the trees.

More Prone to Disease 

Injury to the roots leaves your tree more prone to disease. The open wounds take much time to heal and allow bacteria, fungi, and other diseases to gain a foothold. The cumulative damage, with pest infestation and corrective pruning, will kill most adult trees.


While damaging smaller roots is dangerous, cutting larger roots can prove disastrous. The bigger roots support the tree’s upper structure. If you damage too many of these, the tree may topple in windy weather. 

It may also overbalance, causing it to fall even in calm weather.  Significant root death makes the tree extremely hazardous. If more than a quarter of the roots are killed, the tree can no longer sustain itself. 

Why Not Prune Roots?

It may seem harmless to cut back one or two of the main roots, much as you would when trimming a branch. However, the roots are more critical to the tree’s health than the branches. It is easy to cut a root in the wrong place or remove too much of the substructure.

As everything is underground, it is challenging to gauge how much you can remove before going too far. 

Get Professional Assistance

Are you thinking of removing tree roots? Before considering any element of DIY tree removal, contact Dead or Alive Tree Service LLC at (386) 333 2252. One of our arborists will provide the right advice and assistance.

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