Air Spading – Good for Tree Health

Proper root flare/root collar after air spading service.

If you are puzzled as to why your tree or shrub’s health is declining, you might look for a company that supplies air-spade services.  This service can potentially help restore the health of a struggling tree.

Often times, trees and shrubs have problems with their roots or soil, which can affect the health of the tree.   Air Spading is a technique that exposes the root system allowing professionals to more effectively diagnose and treat problems that were difficult in the past.   Whitehouse Landscaping is proud to offer air spading and root excavation to our menu of tree services.

Proper root flare/root collar
Proper root flare/root collar after air spading.

What is Air-Spading?

An air spade is a hand-held device attached to a compressor using high pressured air to remove soil and mulch to expose roots and the root collar.   Prior to this new technology, there was no way to dig around trees without potentially damaging the bark or root tissue.

Girgling roots exposed after air spading service
Improperly planted tree with air spading exposing the girgling roots.

Symptoms of Root problems

It’s quite common for trees and shrubs to have problems with their roots or soil, which can affect their health and lead to decline.

If a tree has root problems, you my notice a thinning canopy, dieback from the top or thinning isolated to one side.   Exposing the root system using an air spade tool allows tree professionals to more effectively diagnose the problem.

Common Reasons that Roots Suffer

Poor Planting.    Sometimes a tree trunk may have been buried too deeply and the root collar is not exposed as it should be.  This may cause roots to grow in circles around the tree strangling the tree.   The air spading can excavate the soil around the trunk so the root collar is properly exposed.

(The root collar is the heart of the tree where the trunk meets the major lateral roots.  It’s part of the main stem and not the root system which is why it needs to stay above ground.)

Soil Compaction.  Soil compaction is one of the biggest risks to the long term health of a tree.  If the soil is compacted, the roots find it hard to access water and air.  Air spading gives the roots air and encourages more root development.  The more roots that develop, the more nutrients the tree absorbs in addition to the opportunity to replace some of the dirt with nutrients-rich soil amendments.

Incorrect mulching kills more trees than any other factors in landscapes.

Too Much Mulch.   Roots need oxygen to function and if excessive amounts of mulch pile up over the years, trees will send out new roots from their trunks or from the existing root system.  At first, this drains a lot of energy from the tree and eventually, the new roots may girgle (choking) the tree limiting its ability to thrive.  If intervention takes places before the damage is too extensive, we can excavate the excess mulch and soil and prune the unwanted roots.

Benefits of Air Spading

As mentioned above, air spading reduces soil compaction and encourages healthier root development.  The tree will have more access to the nutrients it needs for healthy growth.  The Air Spade tool will help with an immediate visual inspection and correction of a tree’s roots

Contact Whitehouse Landscaping to Discuss our Air Spading Services

Your trees are only as healthy as their roots.  If you have a tree or shrub that is struggling and need an Arborist to assess the health of your tree and evaluate the soil around the tree, contact Whitehouse Landscaping for a free consultation.   Our air spade service is a great diagnostic tool!