Root,Roots, and Roots

Asked July 16, 2017, 10:23 AM EDT

Hi, I have a backyard patio that includes a ornamental Cherry and a huge River Birch in the outer garden near the retaining wall. The roots of the trees are starting to damage the retaining wall. If I cut the root that is damaging a portion of the wall will another root grow in it's place and damage another portion of the wall? I'm trying not to remove the cherry tree but that may be my only option. I'm not sure if the river birch is causing issues too. The tree is huge and can't be removed. Do river birches has shall root structures?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

In general the cherry and river birch have shallow root systems.
If tree roots are cut, they can still continue to grow and branch in the soil. Also digging, trenching or rototilling within the root area of established trees will cause harm such as branch dieback.
Root damage may haunt the plant months or years later depending upon the environmental stresses that occur.

There is little that can be done for damaged roots. All you can do is keep the trees well watered during droughts and provide a light fertilization in the spring or fall to stimulate new growth.