The roots are some of the most critical parts of the tree. Apart from supporting the connection between the soil and the tree, the roots also absorb and transport water and nutrients. That is why root damage can be catastrophic to a tree's health. Below are some of the common causes of tree root damage.


Pests can attack tree roots and cause serious damage. Typical pests here include rodents and insects that feed on or live in the roots. An attack on a few roots may not trouble a mature tree much. However, an extensive attack can kill multiple roots and affects the tree's ability to draw water and nutrients.


Many forms of tree root damage occur due to human activities, such as construction projects. For example, paving over a tree's roots reduces the amount of oxygen that the roots can absorb. The activity of digging trenches can severe tree roots. Other landscaping activities can even expose some of the tree roots to further damage.


Tree roots need to be covered by some soil for the roots to perform their function.  Soil erosion removes the soil covering, which weakens the roots and denies them water and nutrients.  Erosion can occur due to numerous activities, both natural and artificial. For example, a serious flood can wash away soil from the base of a tree, and construction activities can also do the same thing.

Soil compaction

Tree roots need both water and air to survive and be strong. The water and air occupy the spaces between soil particles. When these spaces are reduced, the volume of air and water available to the roots also falls. Soil compaction, for example, due to heavy machinery around the tree, is one of the things that can drive water and air out of the soil.

Wind damage

Wind doesn't cause direct damage to tree roots, but it can cause indirect damage by uprooting the roots. For example, if a strong wind causes a tree to lean, some of the roots may tear or pull out of the soil. Such roots are also likely to be attacked or damaged by other things since they are exposed.


Tree roots near the top of the soil are subject to temperature fluctuations and extreme temperatures. Constant temperature fluctuations can cause the roots to crack. Freezing temperatures can freeze the fluids within the roots, causing them to expand and burst the tree's tissues.

Consult tree removal services if you suspect that your tree's roots are damaged. The tree professional can inspect the tree and determine whether it can be saved or needs to be removed.