Will Cutting Tree Roots Kill the Tree? What Residents Should Know

As resilient as most trees are, they don’t respond well to neglect. If you are to fully enjoy your tree’s beauty, you will need to care for them regularly.

Unfortunately, tree care isn’t always straightforward. Some of the measures you take could end up harming your tree.

For instance, what happens when your tree roots are damaged or damaging your property and need to be cut? Knowing how vital they are to your tree’s survival, you might ask, “Will cutting tree roots kill the tree?” The answer might surprise you.

Read on to learn what tree specialists in Temecula have to say about cutting tree roots.

will cutting tree roots kill the tree

When Will You Need To Cut Tree Roots?

Every tree owner knows the crucial role roots play in tree health. As such, cutting them might seem counterproductive. However, some scenarios will call for it.

For example, your tree’s roots continued growth could pose a risk to your home’s utilities or foundation. Sometimes, the roots could come above the surface, creating tripping hazards. Other times, you might need to cut your roots to protect them from root damage and dangers such as lawn care machinery.

Will Cutting Tree Roots Kill the Tree?

For the most part, you won’t need to worry about cutting your tree’s roots. However, what happens if it becomes necessary? Will cutting tree roots kill the tree?

No, cutting the roots won’t kill your tree. This doesn’t mean there is no risk involved, though.

If the roots you are planning on cutting are large, removing them could make it hard for your tree to absorb the nutrients it needs to survive. Also, doing so could make the tree quite unstable.

How To Cut Tree Roots Without Killing the Tree

Fortunately, there’s a way to cut tree roots without harming the tree. However, it will depend on the following factors.

Time of the Year

It is essential to cut the roots at the right time. Experts recommend doing so in late winter or early spring because most trees are usually dormant.

Your Tree’s Age

It is a lot safer to cut the roots of young trees. This is because they haven’t matured fully yet, and their cells are still multiplying.

How Much of the Root You Cut

Never cut more than 25% of the root at once. Instead, divide the roots into four quadrants and only cut two opposite quadrants.


Remember to monitor your tree closely afterward and reach out to an arborist as soon as you notice signs of distress, such as:

  • A lack of leaves
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Dying branches
  • Tree decay

Professional Root Cutting Services

DIY tips might make root cutting seem straightforward. However, it’s always best to leave the task to our trained arboriculture professionals. They’ll know the exact place to cut to ensure minimal damage.

Call E.L.M. Tree Care today at 951-216-3650 to schedule our services and request your free estimate. You can also reach out to us for any tree care questions you might have, from, “Will cutting tree roots kill the tree?” to, “Can a fallen tree stand back up?

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