What are the Potential Consequences of Cutting Tree Roots?

Most trees have an extensive root system that helps anchor them in the ground and provides them with the nutrients they need to grow. However, tree roots can also cause problems for homeowners. They can grow into sewer lines and cause blockages, lift sidewalks and driveways, and damage foundations. As a result, many people wonder if they can simply cut tree roots to solve these problems.s

Here are a few things about cutting tree roots you should know about.

What Purpose Do Tree Roots Serve?

Tree roots anchor trees in the ground and absorb water and minerals from the soil. They are also used to store food for the tree. A tree’s root system can be as large as the tree’s crown, and the roots can extend several feet into the ground. The roots near the surface of the soil are typically shallow and spread out, while the roots deeper in the ground are typically longer and thicker.

How Does Cutting Tree Roots Affect a Tree?

Cutting tree roots can damage the tree and make it more susceptible to disease and wind damage. It can also make it difficult for the tree to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. If too many roots are cut, the tree may not be able to stand upright and could eventually fall over.

Factors to Consider Before Cutting a Tree Root

There are several factors you should consider before cutting tree roots.

Age of the Tree

You should avoid cutting roots on young trees. They are still growing and need all their roots to support the tree. Older trees are more likely to be able to survive having some roots cut.

Location of the Tree

If the tree is close to your house, sidewalk, driveway, or other structure, you should avoid cutting roots. The tree could fall and cause damage.

Time of Year

The best time to cut roots is in the fall or winter when the tree is dormant. The tree will be less stressed and will have an easier time recovering from having roots cut.

Types of Trees

Some trees are more tolerant of having their roots cut than others. Some of the most tolerant trees include:

  • Birch
  • Dogwood
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Poplar
  • Willow

Trees that are less tolerant of having their roots cut include:

  • Elm
  • Hemlock
  • Hickory
  • Larch
  • Spruce
  • Sycamore
  • Walnut

Trees that are very sensitive to having their roots cut include:

  • Cedar
  • Cherry
  • Fir
  • Holly
  • Magnolia
  • Redwood
  • Sequoia
  • Yew

Before you cut any roots, you should consult with a certified arborist to see if it is a good idea. They can help you determine if the tree can tolerate having its roots cut and how to do it properly.


It is evident that cutting tree roots can potentially kill the tree. This is because roots are responsible for anchoring the tree, providing support, and absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. When roots are cut, the tree can no longer perform these vital functions effectively, which can lead to its death. Therefore, it is important to be careful when cutting tree roots and to make sure that only a small amount of the roots are removed.

If you need tree service professionals in Woodstock, we can help! Tree Crews Inc. provides all-inclusive tree services with tree removal, tree pruning, forest beautification, tree health management, debris, and stump removal, as well as anytime emergency tree service in response to wind or storm damage. Call us today at 770-479-9611 to request a free estimate!

Tree Crews

Tree Crews Inc. provides all inclusive tree services including tree removal, pruning & trimming, forest beautification, tree health management, debris and stump removal, as well as anytime emergency tree service in response to wind or storm damage. Call or email today and we’ll give a free price quote!

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