Girdling roots

Asked September 5, 2019, 3:32 PM EDT

Can girdling roots be removed any time of the year (summer) or is it best to only do in spring or fall??

Oakland County Michigan

2 Responses


The best time would be when the tree is dormant, and when soil isn’t frozen. We recommend consulting a certified arborist for large trees or for any root larger than 1.5 inches diameter. These professionals have taken training in care, diseases, pests and passed certification tests. He/she will come on site and give a complete diagnosis and a plant care plan, as well. Find certified arborists by zip code here—-

Some roots should not be removed completely and the arborist will know how to deal with these. Removal does stress the tree so, monitor rainfall received following root removal and provide water equivalent to one inch per week through the growing season. Thanks for using our service.

Hello again,

A colleague forwarded me a second reference on girdling roots that conflicts with the one I used. So, as far as ‘when to cut girdling roots’ there are at least two schools of thought.

One recommends to cut them when the trees are dormant and one advocates mid-Summer when trees are most actively closing off wounds. Ask your arborist and go with his/her recommendation.