Big Trees in Small Spaces: A Cautionary Tale to Their Life Veins

big tree in confined space needs proper tree care
Spotted by one of our Certified Arborists: A big tree in a confined space. This tree doesn’t have a lot of room to grow in (especially with a pool beside it!).

Do you have big trees? Are they close to sidewalks or patios? Driveways, roadways? If so, it’s likely the ideal root zone is reduced – which is dangerous to the large tree’s livelihood.  

Roots are a tree’s life veins. Big trees in a limited space might have a limited Critical Root Zone (CRZ) which results in limited health.

While trees typically do “self-adjust” to their environment, in special circumstances such as small spaces, they need a little help.

By doing the following five things, you can provide the support and care your big trees need before it’s too late.

1. Soil Decompaction

Soil compaction is known as the silent killer. Without the crucial pore space needed for nutrient and water intake, the tree may begin declining. This can lead to symptoms such as yellowing leaves and presence of secondary invaders.

Soil Aeration:

  • Loosens the soil
  • Enables new roots to grow
  • Gives older roots room to breathe
  • Creates pore space that mimics natural forest
  • Promotes plant health and growth

Vertical mulching & soil augmentation:

  • Creates holes in Critical Root Zone (CRZ)
  • Replaces holes with missing organic matter
  • Improves soil composition

>> Find out why soil compaction is the “Silent Killer”

2. Biostimulants

biostimulant treatment being applied by one of our tree doctors, treating root system for tree
Biostimulant being applied by one of our Certified Arborists

Through their 100% organic, natural blend of ingredients, root systems treated with biostimulants are able to boost overall tree health. They’re the number one thing our Certified Arborists like to recommend to clients as they support immune systems and plant development.


  • Stimulate root growth
  • Improve trees’ ability to fight off environmental stressors
  • Provide better recovery from disease and insect damage
  • Are cost-effective

>> Read more about the benefits of biostimulants

3. Proper Watering Techniques

watering can for proper watering tree care technique

Underwatered trees can lead to symptoms such as wilting, drooping, or yellowing leaves, tree sap, and “scorched” edges on leaves, while overwatered trees might lead to signs such as lack of growth around the base of the tree.

While we can’t control the external conditions brought by natural stressors such as weather, we can monitor plant health and adjust tree care accordingly.

Adjust Watering Technique by:  

  • Watering plants more during dry spells or droughts
  • Watering plants less during periods of severe rain

Quick tip: To easily provide supplemental watering, you can set your garden hose to trickle for several hours.

>> Learn more about watering stressed trees

4. Preventive Borer Treatments

Ambrosia Borer Beetle damage that could've been prevented with tree care borer treatment
Ambrosia Borer Beetle damage spotted by one of our Certified Arborists

A common understanding is that what damage has been done can’t be fixed. Such is the case for tree borer infestations and their consequences. Trees dealing with restricted root zones are prone to borer infestations. It’s best not to wait for borers to show up, as you can’t get rid of the damage that has already been done.

Preventive Borer Treatments:

  • Reduce susceptibility to borer attacks

>> Read more about destructive borers (which plague a wide variety of tree species!)

5. Proper Tree Trimming/Pruning

tree trimming done by tree service doctor crew
Tree trimming by our tree service crew

Although not tied to root care, a treatment list for big trees would not be complete without tree trimming. Without tree trimming, you and your family could suffer from a plethora of consequences.

Lack of tree trimming can cause big trees to crowd into powerlines, block windows, or crack foundations (to name a few). Trimming as necessary can help an overcrowding tree.

Tree trimming:

  • Helps a tree maintain its ideal height
  • Maintains tree structure
  • Protects people and property

>> Find out why trimming your tree in the fall or winter is a smart choice

tree trimming done by tree service crew, step one
Tree trimming service done by our crew
tree trimming service provided by tree service crew, step 2
Tree trimming service done by our crew

Big trees are great additions to homes. They’re beautiful and can make landscapes a little cozier. If you have big trees that you care about, it’s important to closely monitor their health. After all, if precautions aren’t taken, it can be detrimental to their livelihood – and your own.

Big, older trees deserve care. They’re like family and friends – they’ve been with us through a lot. We can provide your older trees with the proactive, rather than reactive, care that they deserve. Contact us today to meet with one of our Certified Arborists and discuss our Older Tree Care Package.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *