Top Products for Tree Root Management

Tree root management is a critical aspect of urban landscaping and infrastructure maintenance. As cities continue to expand and green spaces become integral to urban planning, the challenge of growing larger healthy trees while safeguarding infrastructure has never been more pronounced.

In this overview, we delve into the top products designed to address the unique challenges of tree management in urban environments. From innovative root barriers to cutting-edge soil cell systems, we explore solutions that promote healthy urban tree growth while safeguarding surrounding infrastructure.

Why is Tree Root Management Important?

Tree root management is vital during the initial planting of trees because it sets the foundation for the tree’s long-term health, growth, and overall impact on the urban environment. Trees only grow from their foundation, if a new growth grows from a deformed branch it is only as strong as it’s weakest point.

To ensure the tree establishes itself securely and thrives, proper tree root management during the initial planting phase is crucial. By providing the right conditions and space for root development, we lay the groundwork for a healthy, long-lasting tree that can fulfill its vital role in our urban and natural environments.

Here are several key reasons why tree root management is crucial during the initial planting phase:

  1. Establishment of a Healthy Root System: Proper management ensures that a tree’s roots are positioned optimally within the planting site. This encourages the development of a healthy and extensive root system, which is essential for the tree to absorb water and nutrients efficiently.
  2. Prevent Soil Compaction: Soil compaction is a common issue in urban areas due to construction and foot traffic. Compacted soil limits root growth, reduces oxygen availability, and inhibits water infiltration. Effective root management techniques can help mitigate compaction risks, preserving soil quality.
  3. Reduced Risk of Surface Disturbances: Poorly managed roots can lead to issues like root heaving, which can disrupt pavements, sidewalks, and roadways. Proper root management minimizes these surface disturbances, reducing the lifetime cost and inconvenience of repairs to local governments.
  4. Enhanced Tree Stability: A well-anchored tree with properly managed roots is less likely to topple during storms or high winds. This is especially important in urban environments where falling trees can pose safety hazards and property damage risks.
  5. Optimized Tree Growth and Longevity: Adequate root space and soil conditions promote vigorous growth and increase the tree’s lifespan. Proper root management ensures that trees have access to essential nutrients, water, and oxygen, which are crucial for sustained health and vitality.
  6. Maintenance of Ecosystem Services: Urban trees provide a wide range of ecosystem services, from air purification to temperature regulation. Effective root management preserves these services, benefiting both the environment and the community.
  7. Cost Savings: By proactively addressing root management during planting, cities and property owners can avoid expensive remediation and repair costs associated with root-related damage to infrastructure.

Root Barriers

root barriers for tree root management

Root barriers are physical barriers placed underground to redirect and guide tree roots away from sensitive areas like sidewalks and buildings. They can be made from various materials, including plastic and metal.

Root Barrier being installed around Stratacell to direct roots away from nearby pavement
Root Barrier being installed around Stratacell to direct roots away from nearby pavement

Root Directors

root director

Similar to Root Barriers, Root Directors are designed to redirect and guide roots away from sensitive urban infrastructure. Generally trees have a shallow root plate, which extends horizontally rather than deeply into the ground.

Root Directors are place around the root ball of the tree to ensure new tree root growth is forced deeper into the surrounding soil to help mitigate the chance of roots forcing their way back to the adjacent surface and give the tree more structural root support.

Related: Why you need a Root Director for your Trees.

tree planted using root director
Tree planted using Root Director

Snorkil™ RootRain Urban

Snorkil Rondo 1 Angle tree root management Citygreen

The Snorkil™ RootRain Urban is a piped inlet designed to be placed around the tree’s root ball and flush with the pavement. The major benefit of using the Snorkil is that tree roots will have direct access to water and oxygen, while also providing these same benefits to deeper soil zones. This encourages the tree’s roots to explore deeper for nutrients away from the surface, promoting healthy stable tree growth.

Tree management teams also have direct access to watering the tree roots which is useful in times of drought. ensuring less water is lost due to evaporation.

Related: How Tree Roots Behave

Snorkil planted around new planted tree to provide oxygen and water to the rootball
Snorkil planted around new planted tree

Tree Grates

bradford compact view 02 tree root management Citygreen

Tree grates distribute the weight of foot traffic, promoting a healthier root system by preventing soil compaction around the tree.

Typically constructed from metal or composite materials, they not only shield the tree’s base from compaction caused by pedestrian traffic but also safeguard citizens from uneven pavements resulting from root upheaval helping reduce tree related accidents. Additionally, they can be designed to contribute to the area’s aesthetics.

Related: Why Tree Grates are Essential

Tree planted with a Tree grate as protection
Tree planted with a Tree grate as protection

Tree Anchors

Platipus Case Study Deadman System 2 300x277 1 tree root management Citygreen

Tree anchors consist of sturdy cables or rods that are securely fastened to the tree’s trunk and anchored deep into the ground, providing weighted support. They work by redistributing the forces exerted on the tree, ensuring it remains upright during adverse weather conditions.

In urban settings, where strong winds, heavy storms, or the weight of foliage pose risks to tree stability, tree anchors become invaluable. These anchors are robust systems designed to secure trees, preventing them from uprooting or leaning perilously.

Platipus Tree Anchor around the tree rootball
Platipus Tree Anchor around the tree rootball

Soil Vault Systems

stratavault tree root management Citygreen

Soil Vault systems, otherwise know as soil cells, are a groundbreaking solution for planting trees in urban areas. These systems consist of interconnected modules installed beneath pavements and hardscape areas, creating a concealed vault for soil to support the tree.

The advantage of using a soil vault in urban environments where quality of soil can be lackluster due to the need for infrastructure support. Soil vaults ensure you get the best of both worlds by using structural matrix to support the above works while the void space in the matrix is used to house higher quality soil and space for tree roots to grow.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a Discovery Call with our team of consultants.

Kinsmen workers installing infrastructure in the stratavault matrix
Workers installing Stratavault with utilities for a WSUD Carpark in Canada

Overall, the success of trees in urban landscapes hinges on the preparation before it’s planting. By investing in products that give the tree the best opportunity to succeed we ensure that the benefits of trees in enjoyed for generations to come.

Interested in learning more? take our free 1-hour Designing for the Urban Forest Course on Citygreen Academy.

“Great customer service, quick response times and a very in depth QA system with constant support.”

- Laura Wiesenekker, Project Engineer, Densford Civil -

“Citygreen is a very professional  business, and I found everything was great in terms of deliveries, product supply and information. It was all forthcoming and helped us to complete the project.”

- Keith Burns, Architect/Designer, Keith Burns Architect -

“Citygreen offered training and invaluable technical assistance during the works.”

- James Callan, Estimating Manager, Complex Co Pty Ltd -

“Our experience, in working with a Citygreen Design Studio was second to none. We found responses from the design studio to be very timely, and technically thorough. We went backwards and forwards a number of times, looking at different iterations of the design and, nothing was too much trouble to examine and explore different possibilities. I would highly recommend the Citygreen Design Studio to any future client considering using your services.”

- Sandra Smith, Principal Landscape Architect, City Of Monash -

“We are big on compliance on all projects, and the fact that their SmartCertify cloud platform covers all bases, and supports their 20 year warranties, is critical – especially that these pits are being installed under roadways and footpaths.”

- Johny Purkaystha, Civil Program Engineer, Central Coast Council -

"I reviewed all the previous projects that we have installed in the past couple years using your product and I can happily report back that we have 0% mortality in the soil cells, which is incredible!"

- Brendan Wilton, CEO, Trim Landscaping, Bedford, Canada -