What Is an Air Spade?

An air spade is a handheld high-pressure air stream tool that is useful for soil excavation. The primary advantage of using an air spade to excavate soil is that the air pressure utilized is far less likely to damage roots than a standard air spade. Thus, air spades allows for inspection of roots without compromising the integrity of the root system.This way we can diagnose and treat plants more effectively.

When Would I Want To Use an Air Spade?

At CP & Sons Tree Service, we typically utilize the air spade to expose root systems, however, the air spade is used in a number of  tree care applications including:

Root Collar Excavation

When trees are planted too deep and when the root collar is not visible, many problems can occur, such as pest infestation, root girdling or poor growth. The air spade is used to excavate the root system.

Vertical Mulching

The air spade is used to poke holes in the dirt within the root zone. This allows the roots to receive air, nutrients and moisture from the holes.

Radial Trenching

The air spade is used to excavate spokes or radii out from the tree. Radial trenching allows for aeration of the soil as well as allow for a means to add nutrients.

Soil Aeration

Sometimes soil around a tree becomes compacted because of foot traffic or general settling. Compacted soil can harm a tree because of inadequate water and air. Soil aeration creates holes that allow the tree to receive air and water.

Root Pruning

Installation of a sidewalk, patio or driveway may require excavation near tree roots. An air spade may be used to uncover the roots so an arborist can analyze the roots and determine which to touch and which to leave alone.

Bare Rooting and Transplanting

There are several situations in which trees need to be transplanted. An air spade is used to remove excess dirt and rocks from the roots to decrease the weight of the tree so it can be pulled from the ground and moved.

Advantages of Using An Air Spade

  • Quick and accurate diagnosis of plant health issues without damaging the roots

  • One-step aeration and soil replacement

  • Ability to trench without disturbing the roots

What To Expect When Using Our Air Spade Services

The soil around the tree should be watered 1-2 days prior to our team showing up.  This will expedite the process by softening the soil. Also, prior to moving the soil, any grass, flowers, and shrubs should be removed from the tree’s base. Because of the use of the air compressor, the air spade can be quite noisy. We are aware of this and we go to great lengths to minimize disruption to you and your community. The resulting void created can oftentimes be quite deep. If the area around the tree cannot be immediately filled, medium-sized stones may be used, which provides more air circulation at the base of the tree.



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Office: 310-306-4439