Does Trimming Trees Prevent Root Growth?

Does trimming trees prevent root growth? The short answer is “Yes.” However, when done properly, a healthy tree will quickly recover, allowing you to see the true benefits of tree pruning and how it can strengthen the tree’s roots.

In this post, Hawkins Tree and Landscaping, Texarkana’s tree trimming and pruning service, discusses this fascinating issue in greater detail.

How Does Pruning Affect Root Growth?

A professional tree service will engage in two types of pruning:

  • General pruning to remove dead branches and enhance the tree’s growth and shape.
  • Root pruning to prevent roots from affecting septic systems or foundations.

General pruning removes tissue and leaves that the tree uses to produce energy. This action indirectly effects root growth because the tree has less energy to put into growth. However, since you perform most pruning while the tree is dormant, the impact is minimal.

When wondering, “Does trimming trees prevent root growth?” most people think about root trimming. This action will impact root growth because the roots must heal. As long as you keep 70% of the root ball intact, the tree should bounce back quickly.

Why Trim the Tree?

Trimming the canopy is a tool to remove dead branches, improve airflow, and stimulate growth. Root pruning is slightly different, and professionals complete this task for the following reasons:

  • Reduce crown growth
  • Protect foundations or other underground structures
  • Make it easier to transplant a tree
  • Stimulate blooms or fruit

How Does Pruning the Crown Affect the Roots? 

Trimming the crown distresses the tree, causing it to spring into action to replace the lost section of the canopy as soon as possible. As a result, the roots don’t grow during this stage. Improper crown trimming can, therefore, prevent the tree from setting down strong roots.

Any trimming of the crown is a risky proposition because it distresses the tree greatly. It causes the tree to send out wiry branches so that it can rebuild its canopy as quickly as possible. While these can look untidy, it is unwise to trim these for at least a year. 

How Does Root Pruning Impact the Roots?

Professionals should handle any root pruning, as one wrong cut can significantly damage the tree or destabilize it. Well-placed cuts stimulate strong new growth, but it is easy to damage the fibrous feeder roots that the tree needs for nutrition. 

As professionals, we avoid root trimming unless it is absolutely essential. We also recommend never attempting this task if you do not have the proper expertise. There is a significant risk of killing the tree if you damage too many feeder roots. Damaging the main structural roots can result in the tree falling over. 

When Is the Best Time to Prune? 

The best time to prune depends on the tree itself and why you need to prune it. We recommend pruning in winter while the tree is dormant in most cases. However, this is different for flowering trees. You should prune flowering trees after their flowers fade, even if that is in late summer. 

Tropical trees in a mild climate can handle trimming all year round, but most trees only require one cut a season. We recommend keeping 70% of the living canopy intact. However, you should always remove broken or diseased branches as soon as possible. If these cuts exceed the maximums, you should consider removing the tree instead. 

Call for Professional Assistance

Before attempting root pruning, and learning “Does trimming trees prevent root growth?” the hard way, reach out to the professionals. Contact Hawkins Tree and Landscaping at (870) 330-9912, and we’ll evaluate your tree’s condition before developing a sustainable pruning strategy. 

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