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Assymetrical root system caused instability

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roots deflected by sidewalk

Roots were deflected by this sidewalk. As a result, most roots were growing parallel to the street. When a wind storm blew through the city, the root plate broke free from the surrounding soil. There were no roots under the sidewalk to stabilize the tree. If there were, the sidewalk would have been lifted. The result is the unstable tree you see in this photograph.

The main lateral roots growing to the right of this tree are the ones that should hold the tree from blowing over toward the left. But since these main roots were deflected, the tree became unstable.