Posted: April 25, 2024

Your Massachusetts trees are important to you. They are also extremely valuable to your property. The benefits and beauty they bring give your home a boost and bring a smile to your face every time you go outside. 

So, naturally, you don’t want to see your trees fail or experience troubles that cause them to fade. 

Unfortunately, sometimes tree problems are harder to diagnose or understand because they can start underground. These can make them tougher to address quickly. 

Certified arborists are experienced at spotting these kinds of tree troubles, accurately discovering causes, and providing treatments. Among these treatments that deal with tree soil and root problems is air excavating. 

 It’s no surprise that what you see growing above ground on a tree will mirror that canopy in roots growing beneath the surface. 

Let’s talk about air root collar excavation, the benefits of air excavation, and answer the question, “Does air tilling work?”

Girdling Roots Removal & Air Tilling Tool

Girdled roots can happen when your tree roots encircle the tree trunk. You might think the roots are strangling the tree, in this case, and you’d be right. Girdled roots can actually suffocate trees by cutting off the food and water flow to the tree. 

This can happen when a tree was planted in a hole that was too small or too deep, so the roots didn’t have a chance to grow outward or downward. This can also happen when someone plants a container tree without loosening up its circling roots. You can also get this issue when you mulch too high against a tree trunk. 

Girdled roots can happen above or below ground, and your tree will suffer signs of a lack of water and nutrients, such as a thin canopy, leaf color change or drop, and dead branches. 

To correct the problem, a certified arborist will come in during winter and conduct root pruning using a specialized tool called an air tiller. Removing the wrong roots can reduce a tree’s structural ability, so it’s key that this is done by an experienced professional. 

Root Collar Excavation & Air Excavation Tool

A tree’s root collar is the area where the tree’s roots meet the main trunk. It’s usually distinguished by a root flare that leads to the main roots. The root collar is part of the tree’s trunk and is necessary for delivering oxygen, water, and nutrients to the rest of the tree.

Root collar excavation is the removal of soil and mulch from against the tree’s trunk to inspect the tree for signs of decay and check for girdling roots. This is also done using an air tiller. This soil excavation tool is usually connected to an air compressor to remove or loosen the soil without damaging the tree’s delicate root system.

Soil Decompaction & Air Tilling Tool

If your soil has been compressed over time, it could become so compacted that air, water, and nutrients can’t get from the soil to the tree.

If this happens, soil decompaction may be necessary as a way to mechanically manipulate that soil to create air pockets and release compaction to allow those essentials to flow more freely. 

An air excavator can help loosen compacted soil using these pressurized jets of air. To do this properly, a trained and certified arborist will insert a special nozzle into the soil around the tree base to begin spraying air into the soil. 

Benefits of Air Excavation

Does air tilling work? You’d be surprised at how much faster air excavation is than hand excavation. And its proven benefits have made it a preferred method for certified arborists to use when dealing with some of these difficult and complicated tree root issues. 

  • Air tilling is 2 to 3 times faster than hand excavation.
  • Air tilling ensures equipment with sharp edges don’t get close to the tree roots or trunk or even utility lines that might be located nearby, resulting in minimal to no damage. 
  • Air tilling helps a certified arborist fix your tree problems in the toughest, rockiest soils while experiencing less fatigue. 
  • For your tree, air spading loosens compacted soil, so certified arborists can see the tree’s root structure without damaging it and fix any problems they discover. 

At Hartney Greymont, we have both ISA and Massachusetts certified arborists located in Needham, Concord, Danvers, Cape Cod, and the surrounding areas who can help you with your tree root challenges. 

Have More Questions About Your Tree Roots And Air Excavating? Contact Your Local Arborist For A Free Consultation. 


Hartney (19)
Hartney (19)

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We pride ourselves at Hartney Greymont on providing prompt, professional, and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Hartney Greymont specialists for your residential and commercial needs.

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