Trees can become stressed due to a variety of reasons. A trained Urban Forest Arborist may find signs of girdling roots (roots that coil around the base of the tree trunk and restrict the flow of sap in the tree). Excessive mulching is another reason a tree may become stressed. In these cases, an arborist may prescribe a Root Collar Excavation (RCX). During this process, mulch is removed from over the tree roots and an air spade (with a very powerful air compressor) will blast dirt away – without damaging the roots – in order to get a good view of the root system.

A trained technician will prune fibrous roots and correct as many girdling roots as possible. Once root pruning is complete, our team will add blended soil amendments and conditioners to the soil. Soil will then be placed over the roots, leaving the root flare exposed. The root flare is where the first main roots attach to the trunk. Lastly, we’ll replace the correct amount of mulch (if applicable) and leave the site looking beautiful.

It is common for the arborist to also provide a root enhancement program to follow the RXC. Some soils may require a different approach such as soil amendments being applied after root pruning.


There are many things that can be done by the homeowner to help ensure healthy trees and landscaping. Visit our learning center for techniques and tips that you can use at home.


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