Tulip Poplar root zone and care question

Asked March 29, 2017, 12:45 PM EDT

Greetings! We are doing a major project at my house in Kensington to capture stormwater on site and route it to water trees and bushes on the property. We have dug up clay drainage pipes that had been crushed by the roots of a large mature tulip poplar tree. So far we have been able to work around them, sometimes using a powerwasher to clear away soil from around the roots. First, I am concerned that that might not have been a good idea. Please comment on this. But also today I write because my husband wants to cut a major root for a new pipe route. The root is roughly 5 inches wide - so a big one - and probably ten feet from the trunk; the trunk is something like 24 inches in diameter at breast height. I think that might be too damaging. Please advise. Thank you!!

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

If the power washer damaged the roots, then it can be an issue. Otherwise, it may be no different than washing off with a hose. You do not want small feeder roots/roots exposed to air for a long time and dry out.

There is not much that can be done for roots damaged by digging. A minor amount of damage may have no visible effect but severe damage will cause branch dieback or decline. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/severeddamaged-roots-trees-and-shrubs

The best recommendation would be to consult with a certified arborist for an onsite diagnosis and the best way to proceed http://www.treesaregood.org/