Can I Bury The Trunk Of A Tree?

Although it may sound strange, “burying the trunk of a tree” is really a horticulture term for a practice also known as “burying the trunk flare” or “root collar excavation.” This article will discuss the rationale behind burying the trunk of a tree, the potential health benefits it can provide, and the safest ways to accomplish this task.

Taking proper care of trees’ foundations and trunks is essential if we want them to remain healthy and aesthetically pleasing for many years to come. Let’s go into the topic of tree trunk burial and find out why it’s so important for arborists and tree lovers.

Can I Bury The Trunk Of A Tree?

It is not advised to bury the trunk of a tree because doing so can be harmful to the tree. Burying a tree’s trunk can lead to several issues because different species of tree have different requirements for their root systems and trunks.

  • Root Suffocation: Burying the trunk can lead to soil and moisture covering the root flare or root collar of the tree. This can suffocate the roots, leading to root rot and reduced oxygen supply, which is essential for root health.
  • Girdling Roots: When soil is piled up against the trunk, it can encourage the development of girdling roots. These are roots that encircle the tree’s trunk instead of growing outward, eventually strangling the tree.
  • Disease and Pest Issues: Buried trunks can create a moist environment that attracts pests and promotes the growth of fungi and bacteria, potentially leading to various diseases and infestations.
  • Structural Problems: Covering the trunk can disrupt the natural stability of the tree, making it more prone to leaning or falling over, especially during adverse weather conditions.
  • Reduced Aeration: Trees need access to oxygen at their root collar. Burying the trunk restricts the flow of oxygen, which can hinder the tree’s overall health and growth.

The trunk should not be buried; rather, the soil and mulch should be kept away from the root collar, which is where the roots join the trunk. In order to keep the ideal conditions for tree health, it is important to mulch properly, such as by forming a mulch ring around the tree’s base without contacting the trunk. Having the root collar at the right depth is also crucial when first planting a tree, as recommended by experts.

Get in touch with a licenced arborist if you’re worried about a tree’s health or want to address specific issues with its roots or trunk. They’ll be able to provide you with expert advice and help you find the best course of action.

How Important Is The Trunk Of A Tree?

The tree’s trunk plays a pivotal role in the vitality, stability, and performance of the tree as a whole. It’s an indispensable tool for a number of reasons:

  • Support and Structure: The trunk provides the structural support that allows a tree to stand upright and bear the weight of its branches, leaves, and fruit. It forms the central axis of the tree’s architecture.
  • Transport of Nutrients and Water: The trunk houses the tree’s vascular system, which consists of the xylem and phloem. Xylem transports water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves, while phloem carries sugars produced in the leaves to other parts of the tree. This transport system is essential for the tree’s growth and survival.
  • Storage: Trees often store essential nutrients, energy reserves, and water in their trunks. During periods of drought or when resources are scarce, a tree can tap into these stored reserves to maintain its vital functions.
  • Defence: The bark of the trunk acts as a protective barrier against external threats such as pests, diseases, and physical damage. Some trees can even produce chemical compounds in their bark to deter herbivores or pathogens.
  • Response to Environmental Conditions: The trunk can provide valuable insights into a tree’s history and environmental conditions. Growth rings in the trunk reveal information about a tree’s age and past growth patterns, which can be useful for various scientific studies and environmental assessments.
  • Carbon Storage: Trees sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store carbon in their trunks and woody tissues. This carbon storage is crucial for mitigating climate change by reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The trunk of a tree plays a crucial role in the tree’s overall structure, as well as in the transport, storage, and defence of water and nutrients. It’s crucial to the tree’s well-being and lifespan. The health of a tree and its ability to contribute to ecosystem health and environmental balance depends on proper care for the tree’s trunk.

How Do You Save A Tree Trunk?

The goal of saving a tree trunk is to keep it healthy and free of decay or injury through regular care and maintenance. Here are some things you can do to keep a tree from falling over:

  • Avoid Burying: As mentioned earlier, do not bury the tree trunk or pile excessive soil or mulch around it. Ensure that the root collar, where the roots meet the trunk, remains exposed to air.
  • Mulch Properly: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree, keeping it a few inches away from the trunk. This helps retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and prevent weed competition without smothering the trunk.
  • Prune Dead or Diseased Branches: Regularly inspect the tree for dead or diseased branches and prune them to prevent the spread of decay and improve overall tree health.
  • Maintain Adequate Moisture: Proper watering is crucial. Water deeply and infrequently rather than shallow, frequent watering. The goal is to encourage deep-rooted growth. Watering the root zone of the tree, which extends beyond the drip line, is often more effective than watering near the trunk.
  • Prevent Mechanical Damage: Protect the trunk from mechanical injuries, such as lawnmower or string trimmer damage. Create a mulch or protective barrier around the base of the tree to prevent accidental impact.
  • Avoid Soil Compaction: Avoid heavy machinery or foot traffic around the tree’s root zone, as soil compaction can restrict oxygen flow to the roots.
  • Promote Good Drainage: Ensure that the tree is planted in well-draining soil. Poor drainage can lead to root rot and other problems.
  • Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Regularly inspect the tree for signs of pests or diseases. If you notice any issues, consult with an arborist for appropriate treatment.
  • Fertilize as Needed: Conduct a soil test to determine if the tree requires additional nutrients. If necessary, fertilize the tree following the recommended guidelines.
  • Consult a Professional Arborist: If you’re uncertain about the health of the tree or if it’s experiencing significant issues, consult a certified arborist. They can assess the tree’s condition and provide expert advice and treatment options.

Removal may be the only safe choice for trees with extensive trunk damage or decay. However, a tree’s prospects of survival and continued growth can be greatly improved with proactive and appropriate maintenance. Keep in mind that preserving a tree with trunk problems often requires quick action.


A tree’s trunk is a fundamental and critical part of the tree’s skeleton. It provides the tree’s primary structural support, aids in the uptake and distribution of water and nutrients, stores energy for later use, shields the tree from harm, and adapts to its surroundings. In addition, the trunk plays a critical part in a tree’s ability to store carbon and aid in environmental sustainability.

Keeping in mind the value of the tree’s main stem is crucial for keeping trees in good condition. To protect the tree’s health and longevity, it’s important to refrain from activities like burying the trunk. The health of ecosystems and the environment as a whole is directly tied to the preservation and care of this essential tree component. Protecting tree trunks is crucial to the health of the natural world, as trees are a priceless resource.

Are you looking for more information? Read more here, will burying a tree trunk kill it.

Leave a Reply

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