AirSpade & Aeration: Breathing Life Into Trees

Date March 07, 2024

Author TreeNewal Staff

The AirSpade is an air-powered tool arborists use for root collar excavation and soil aeration, two key processes for analyzing and improving a tree’s health. Understanding these processes and their associated challenges is essential for appreciating AirSpade’s value to arboriculture and the advantages that AirSpade aeration can offer.

What Is Root Collar Excavation?

Image via Flickr by Jill Clardy

Root collar excavation involves an arborist displacing the soil and other matter from around a tree’s base. Its purpose is to allow the arborist to inspect the tree for signs of decay and root girdling, in which the roots grow in a circular pattern around the trunk and strangle it. If either is evident, the arborist can diagnose the problem and initiate treatment.

Hand spading is probably the most traditional excavation method. It’s often laborious, especially with certain soil conditions. Also, hand spades are sharp, so they can easily damage a tree’s roots.

What Is Soil Aeration?

Soil aeration refers to puncturing the soil around a plant to maximize its access to air, water, and nutrients. Aeration helps to combat compaction, in which the soil particles are too closely pressed together. Trees that grow in compacted soil have not only a tougher time extracting what they need from the earth but also fewer roots by which to do so. Aeration, then, promotes their survival.

Traditional soil aeration tools include pitchforks, tines, and spiked rollers. Using these tools can be labor-intensive because compacted soil, by nature, is dense and challenging to break apart.

What Are the Advantages of Using the AirSpade in Arboriculture?

The AirSpade is like a pressure washer, except it uses compressed air instead of water. An arborist can direct the AirSpade’s nozzle at the target area and rapidly displace the soil without having to crouch, kneel, or bend over. Because of how the tool works, AirSpade aeration and excavation offer the following advantages:

  • Faster speed: Compared to hand-spading methods, the AirSpade can get the job done in at least half the time.
  • Decreased labor: The AirSpade spares the arborist from having to perform back-aching work with a shovel or pick.
  • Broader utility: The air pressure is great enough to break apart soil that a shovel might struggle to get through.
  • Better root health: Proper aeration allows a tree’s roots to extract what it needs from the soil. What’s more, though powerful, the pressurized air from the AirSpade is harmless to a tree’s structure, so there’s no risk of damage.
  • Reduced risk of infrastructural damage: The pressurized air from the AirSpade poses no danger of destruction to telecommunications lines, receptacles, and other solid underground objects.

Help Your Trees Thrive With AirSpade in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas

The International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists at TreeNewal are proud to use the AirSpade to help them deliver essential tree care services. If you’d like your soil aerated or your trees examined, please feel free to reach out to us at any time. Either send us a message online or call 817-329-2450 to speak with a TreeNewal representative.