Jason Malysh PN-6582B
Board Certified Master Arborist
Air Excavation, Root Inspection, & Root Pruning
An air excavation tool, also known as an Air Knife, or Air Spade, allows soil to be removed from around tree roots with very little damage to root tissues. This method is far superior to machine- or even hand-excavation for removing soil near tree roots.
Air excavation is used for exposing buried tree root collars, exposing and pruning girdling roots, assessing root damage or disease, or locating service lines under the root system of existing trees without cutting through roots. It allows roots to be exposed and cut cleanly at the edge of excavation, so tearing does not occur, which can damage tissues far beyond the edge of excavation and lead to fungal decay. It is also an excellent method for excavating and installing a root barrier near building envelopes, retaining walls, or other structures. Air excavation is ideal for aerating or amending soil – unlike mechanical aeration, it does not damage roots.
Air excavation also allows us to determine the actual spread of a tree’s root system, which can vary greatly from the root spread calculated by a trunk diameter formula. This can improve access in development sites where tree barriers are located over areas with very low root densities.