Rooting for Your Uprooted Tree: Can You Save a Partially Uprooted Tree?

2 October 2017
 Categories: , Blog


In recent years, Australia has been hit with storms powerful enough to uproot thousands of trees across the country. With storm season once more on the horizon, tree owners need to make sure their trees are safe. This can be done by removing dead branches, cabling trees with double trunks, and even removing trees if necessary.

However, if the winds are anything like those that brought down power lines, leaving 18,000 homes without power in Sydney, in 2015, your trees could be at risk of being blown over. Partially uprooted trees that have come to rest against other trees, fences, or buildings may be saved if most of their root system is still intact.

Large Trees Cannot be Saved

Unfortunately, the larger the tree, the less chance it has of successfully re-rooting. Because much larger trees have extensive root systems 2-3 times the circumference of their crown area, when strong winds uproot them, many of those roots are ripped in two. Not only will the tree be unable to balance itself then, but it will no longer be able to sufficiently nourish itself.

Add to that the fact that you would need a crane to reposition a large tree, which would be costly, and you can see why it would be better to hire a tree service to remove it for you.

Smaller Trees Can be Saved

Since smaller trees also tend to have smaller, less established root systems, when they are partially uprooted, less root structure is lost. A smaller tree that has over 50% of its roots still intact after falling is worth saving. After all, even if it dies later, having it removed won't be as difficult or hazardous as removing a dead or dying tree of a much larger size.

Replace the Tree and Stake It

To replace a partially uprooted tree, pull it back into position without twisting it as you go to avoid snapping off any remaining roots. As you reposition it, place soil and plenty of water over the roots. This will ensure that there are no air pockets in the soil. Air pockets will later dry out the roots and kill them.

Finally, provide your tree with some support by staking it. From this point, only time will tell if it will survive or not. Trees often remain stressed for many months after injury, and it may even take a year or more for an injured tree to die. During that period, make sure your tree is well-watered. You should also hire an arborist to assess your tree's chances of survival and treat the tree with fertilizer.

In rare cases, a large tree can be saved. If a tree means a lot to you, call a tree specialist to assess the damage. Even if the tree dies, an arborist could help you to re-grow the tree from cuttings taken from the root system. For more information, contact a tree removal business.