Root Collar & Mulch Volcano Excavation

Root Collar & Mulch Volcano Excavation


Less is more when it comes to mulch. Trees have what's considered a root collar. Buried root collars that are covered in too much mulch are a common tree problem we come across. If you live in the Lehigh Valley or surrounding areas, we can help with root collar and mulch volcano excavation.

What is Root Collar and Mulch Volcano Excavation

You may be asking yourself, "What is a root collar?" Root collar or root flare, is the area of roots at the trunk or base of a tree. It's this base area that spans out to become roots that are underground beneath the tree. If the root collar area is healthy, you will see a clean area that extends from the base of the tree trunk. If this area is buried by mulch, it's not healthy and can be problematic for the tree.

Root collars can become buried from too much mulch which leads to mulch volcano. This is when too much mulch, leaves and dirt build up at the base of the tree and it buries the root collar. Root collars can also develop from trees being planted too deeply. Regardless of how the root collar started, it's not healthy for trees and the tree may require mulch volcano excavation.

Problems that develop from root collar include:

  • Too much moisture at the trunk of the tree. Tree trunks should remain above ground so water can run off. Too much moisture can damage them. It's the roots that need saturation, not the trunk.

  • Tree trunk cells can suffocate from too much water and moisture that develop with root collar. Damage prevents the cells from working properly.

  • If the trunk remains wet, the roots will start to grow at the base of the tree and can suffocate it. They can also start girdling. This is when roots stop exchanging nutrients, water and food in the areas between the roots and the tree trunk.

  • With a lack of nutrients, food, and water from girdling roots, the tree can start to die as its cells are no longer functioning properly.

  • When trees become sick, they cannot sustain themselves and fight off attacks from disease, insects, harmful bacteria and fungi which can exacerbate their frail state.


At Belles Tree Service, we treat this condition all the time and can work to excavate the tree trunk and root collar area. Using a two-part method, we can work to remove and prune any roots that are choking the tree's trunk. We can also use what's called an air spade to help release the root collar. If the problem is reversible, this works fine. If it's a condition that has gone on for a long period of time and is irreversible, we can discuss with you the various options for tree removal or leaving the tree alone if it won't risk collapse near the property. We would like to use a minimally invasive approach to cause the least amount of damage to the tree and its sensitive root system.

When you are ready to speak to an ISA Certified Arborist about your trees and shrubs and any root collar conditions you are noticing, let us know. We can also address any mulch volcanoes you have found and outline how best to proceed with treating your trees.

Main Office

1205 E Emmaus Ave 

Allentown, PA 18103

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