Do Tree Roots Ever Stop Growing? A Guide for Columbia, MD

Maybe you have a mature tree in your yard whose roots keep expanding. Perhaps you’ve cut down a tree but wonder whether the roots can still damage your home. You’re now wondering, “Do tree roots ever stop growing?”

In this post, a trusted tree service specialist in Columbia, MD, answers this question and covers the ins and outs of promoting, limiting, and stopping tree root growth. 

do tree roots ever stop growing

How Big Can Tree Roots Grow? 

Tree roots typically extend to three to four times the diameter of the crown (the leaves and branches). However, in certain environmental conditions, the roots may grow up to seven or eight times the size of the crown. 

It is hard to predict mature tree root development size because roots are opportunistic. This means they adapt to the conditions around them. For example, if bedrock presents downward root growth limitations, the roots may grow wider.  

What Factors Affect Root Growth?

Internal factors like hormones and genes affect tree root growth regulation. However, environmental factors like the following also play a huge role: 

  • Temperature: Root growth slows when the soil temperature drops to around 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing temperatures trigger root growth cessation until spring.
  • Season: For most trees, roots grow fastest in spring. Some species also undergo a smaller root growth period in the fall. 
  • Nutrients: Trees need the correct nutrients to grow, and their roots are no exception. Healthy growth requires nutrient supplementation if you remove the natural plant litter (leaves and other organic matter) around a tree. Mulches, compost, and fertilizers can help.
  • Soil type: Tree roots also need water and oxygen to grow. When they struggle to get them, they will change their growth pattern. In moist, loose soils, trees grow more roots. Trees grow fewer roots in dry, compacted soil but may be longer.

The restriction of any of these fundamental requirements can cause root growth limitations. For example, a lack of oxygen, reduced water supply, and physical impediments (like pavement and root trimming) can all restrict root growth.

Do Roots Grow After You Cut Down a Tree?

Perhaps you’ve recently removed a tree growing too close to your house. Do tree roots ever stop growing after a tree has been cut down? The answer is both yes and no. 

Roots need leaves to supply them with the required nutrients. If sprouts continue to form around the stump and produce leaves, the roots will continue to grow. 

However, tree root growth lifespan is not unlimited once a tree has been cut down. If you successfully remove all the shoots, the roots will eventually die. You can also destroy the roots mechanically or chemically to speed up the process.

Have More Tree Questions? Contact Us!

Now that we’ve answered the question, “Do tree roots ever stop growing?” the professional team at Affordable Tree Services is standing by to address all your tree care needs.

Whether you are looking for stump grinding services or wonder about the best time to hire tree service experts in Columbia, MD, we can help. Give us a call today at (301) 512-5531.

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