Our 3 Biggest Killers

#1 – Roots

construction related work

#2 – Trunk

tree girdling

#3 – Crown

poor tree pruning job

Construction-related Injuries

Land development and building near trees often cause direct injuries to the trunk and root flares, and indirect injuries to the roots, which can lead to an early departure.


Anything that disrupts the vital flow of nutrients from the crown to the roots can cause premature death. Most girdling (choking) can be traced back to the way our trees are often poorly planted.


Harmful pruning practices, such as stub cuts, flush cuts, topping and over-thinning, can result in an untimely demise. Much of what passes for pruning does more harm than good.

What Is Killing Our Trees?

Besides the occasional weather event, most trees are killed by the direct actions of man. Pests (disease and harmful insects, plants and animals) are merely the “clean-up crew” after man has come and gone.

Trees become predisposed to pest attack by one or more of the following actions of man:

Direct injury to roots

  • trenching (utility, drainage and irrigation lines)
  • soil cuts (building foundations, driveway and pool)
  • grade changes
  • grade-leveling for lawns
  • transplanting (tree spading, ball & burlap, and bare-root;root-ball too small and left out of the ground too long)

Indirect injury to roots

  • soil fills, soil cuts, trenching, grade changes and leveling (anaerobic soil, flooding and drought; natural watering patterns altered)
  • loss of topsoil, duff and debris/mulch
  • soil compaction (workers, vehicles, equipment and lawn maintenance)
  • introduction of harmful chemicals to soil (onsite refueling of vehicles and equipment, accidental discharge, leaking and intentional dumping)
  • ground fire (accidental, controlled burn and incineration of building materials)
  • competing species introduced within the critical root-zone (trees, shrubs, flowers, turf-grass and groundcover)
  • improper installation (planting hole too small and too deep, inadequate backfill, poor drainage, girdling and circling roots)
  • over-mulching (anaerobic soil and fungal matting)
  • over-fertilizing (root burn)

Direct injury to trunk

  • accidental collision (farming, logging, tree service work, land clearing, land development, construction, lawn maintenance and motorist)
  • improper pruning (flush cuts)
  • string and shaft trimmer (lawn maintenance)
  • ground fire (accidental, controlled burn and incineration of building materials)
  • blazing trees during surveying
  • carving initials into bark
  • livestock

Indirect injury to trunk

  • girdling (manmade materials, compacted soil, rocks and roots)
  • improper pruning (stub cuts)
  • direct injury to scaffold branches and buttress roots
  • volcano mulching

Direct injury to crown

  • improper pruning (over-thinning and topping)
  • rubbing (vehicles, equipment, manmade structures and branches)
  • electrical burn or fire (un-insulated power lines)

Indirect injury to crown

  • overexposure after land-clearing (sun, lightning, wind and ice)
  • air pollution

Introduction of non-native species

  • pests (hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, ambrosia beetle, dogwood anthracnose, bacterial leaf scorch, ect.)
  • invasive plants (mistletoe, kudzu, wisteria, ivy, winter creeper, bamboo, tree-of-heaven, mimosa, olive, ect.)

Tree Evaluations & Reports

Before you call a tree removal service, let our impartial consulting arborists identify potential hazards and diseases, and recommend proven solutions. Our approach spares our clients needless worry and, often, thousands of dollars in removal and treatment costs.

Start typing and press Enter to search