A fallen and uprooted tree on a Northern Virginia property.

Can You Save an Uprooted Tree in Northern Virginia?

When a tree gets uprooted, it can be a shocking and disheartening sight. Seeing a beloved tree toppled over can leave you wondering if it’s possible to save it, whether it’s due to a powerful storm, strong winds, or soil erosion. Understanding the steps to take immediately after discovering an uprooted tree and knowing when to seek professional help is crucial in determining the tree’s fate.

This knowledge is especially valuable for homeowners in Northern Virginia, where we experience diverse weather conditions. In this blog post, we’ll explore whether an uprooted tree can be saved and what actions you can take to give your tree the best chance of survival.

Key Takeaways:

  • Smaller trees can sometimes be replanted after uprooting
  • Larger trees have extensive root systems and will need to be removed
  • If a tree is partially uprooted, it may be saved
  • Replant partially uprooted small trees as soon as possible
  • Some steps can be taken to prevent trees from uprooting

A fallen and uprooted tree that fell due to not a lot of room for roots to grow.

What to Look for in an Uprooted Tree

Size of the Tree

Smaller trees under 10 feet tall are more likely to be able to be saved and replanted after uprooting. Smaller trees are easier to handle, and the root systems are less developed than with larger trees.

Large or mature trees have extensive root systems that often grow beyond the drip line. Uprooted large trees may have root systems that were severed as the tree fell. Large trees are also incredibly heavy and, therefore, much more difficult to stand back up and replant.

If your tree is newly planted or still small, replant it as soon as possible to prevent the root system from drying out.

A tree surrounded by brick pavers that is partially uprooted.

How Much of the Tree is Uprooted

A tree is much less likely to survive replanting if it is entirely uprooted. However, if more than 50% of the root system remains intact, the tree is much more likely to survive.

Check the extent of root exposure and damage. If much of the root system is intact rather than damaged, it has a much better chance of survival.

Health of the Tree

Tree pests and diseases can significantly weaken a tree and make it more susceptible to falling or becoming uprooted.

If the tree is damaged by pests or diseases, an uprooted tree is less likely to survive being replanted after uprooting.

Trunk Stability

Inspect the tree trunk for cracks or splits. Severe trunk damage may mean the tree cannot be saved.

A young tree supported by stakes and string.

Replanting an Uprooted Tree

Once you determine that your uprooted tree can recover if replanted, you should replant it as soon as possible to prevent the root system from drying out.

Steps For Replanting an Uprooted Tree

Correctly reposition the tree, ensuring the roots are in contact with the soil. Fill in any gaps with fresh soil.

Once it is replanted, ensure the tree is stable. You may need to use stakes to support the tree while the roots re-establish.

Care for the tree by adding nutrient-dense soil and organic mulch. Water the tree to help it recover from the shock.

Some trees may need additional care; contact a professional tree service such as Green Vista Tree Care to help your uprooted tree recover.

How to Determine if a Tree is Recovering

A tree is recovering if it shows signs of new growth and remains upright (without the use of stakes or other support) after a few months.

Not all trees will recover after being partially uprooted and replanted, especially if there are other issues such as insufficient nutrients or water, improper planting, or pest or disease infestations.

Green Vista Tree Care prunes a tree from a bucket truck in Northern Virginia.

How to Lessen the Chances of an Uprooted Tree

As you know, the best treatment is prevention. You can do several things to reduce the chances of your trees uprooting. However, keep in mind that even the healthiest trees can be uprooted if the weather is extreme enough or the root system is in unstable ground.

Schedule Regular Tree Inspections

Regularly inspect your tree (or schedule professional inspections) to check for signs of disease, pest infestation, or structural weaknesses.

Also, look for root exposure, cracked or leaning trucks, or dead branches.

A fallen tree too close to a house with no room for roots to grow.

This tree did not have enough room for the root system to grow and expand, so the tree was not properly anchored and fell.

Use Proper Planting Techniques

Did you know that most trees are planted too deeply? Trees should be planted with the root flare visible above the soil line.

Don’t plant trees too close to structures or other trees, as that can limit root and canopy growth. Roots must grow and spread out to properly anchor the tree and prevent it from tipping.

Read more tree planting tips for healthy trees.

Include Soil Management

Waterlogging can weaken root systems, so improve the drainage around trees. Add organic mulch to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Learn more about how to help flooded or waterlogged trees.

Schedule Regular Pruning

Schedule professional pruning regularly to remove dead or weakened branches and reduce wind resistance. Professional pruning can also help maintain a balanced tree structure and prevent excessive weight on one side of the tree.

Learn more about the dangers of untrimmed trees.

Prioritize Watering and Fertilization

Trees should be watered deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Don’t water the tree’s trunk; instead, water near the drip line. This encourages the roots to spread out rather than stay close to the tree trunk.

Some trees, especially in urban or suburban locations, need to be fertilized to improve the soil’s nutrients. Trees need nutrients to grow and remain healthy.

Protect Root Systems

Tree roots are easily damaged by lawn care equipment such as lawnmowers and trimmers. Mulching can prevent some damage, but take care not to damage the roots when possible.

Construction and landscaping projects can also damage roots and cause soil compaction.

Create Windbreaks

Shield trees from strong winds by planting windbreaks or using existing structures. Grouping trees can also provide mutual protection from wind forces.

10 wind-resistant trees to keep homes safer in Northern Virginia.

Prevent tree damage from storms and wind.

Monitor Soil Erosion

Eroding soil leaves tree roots with less anchorage, which can lead to tree uprooting. Monitor the ground around your trees and check for issues regularly. You may need to implement landscaping techniques, such as terracing, retaining walls, or ground cover plants, to prevent soil erosion around trees.

Green Vista Tree Care removes a leaning tree before it uproots.

Remove Trees Before They Uproot

If it’s clear that a tree is dead or dying, schedule a tree removal before it becomes a hazard. Dead trees are more likely to break or fall and damage nearby structures.

How to know it is time to remove a tree.

The Green Vista Tree Care team uses a robotic crane to help remove an uprooted tree in a Northern Virginia yard.

Contact Green Vista Tree Care to Care For Your Trees

Most of the time, uprooted trees cannot be saved and will need to be removed. However, you can use the steps above to determine if your tree can be saved and replant it when it has a chance of survival.

When you have a dead, dying, or uprooted tree, contact Green Vista to remove your tree safely and efficiently.

For your trees that are still standing, schedule professional pruning services to ensure a stable structure and no broken branches.

In need of tree care services?

Give us a call at 571-244-3838 or request a quote online!

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