Air Spade Excavation

Air spading is the process of breaking up and removing soil with a high-pressure jet of air, creating holes or trenches. This process is much quicker than conventional methods, such as using diggers or hand digging, and offers the added benefit of preventing damage to roots or utility lines.

A further benefit is that because air spade equipment improves the rooting environment and overall tree health, the process helps reduce the need for tree surgery.

Arbor Cultural Ltd has an Air-ex air spade along with various nozzles, a hood and a protection screen to minimise disruption and damage to the surrounding area. In addition, our staff wear all necessary PPE in compliance with health and safety regulations.

Arbor Cultural Ltd uses a specialist air spade to decompact soil and carry out root investigations without causing damage to tree roots. There are various reasons we undertake air spading, such as establishing root locations for development purposes and helping trees deal better with stress, disease and other issues. As tree consultancy specialists, we provide expertise on your trees and work closely with you to determine the best management solutions for your trees.

The decompaction of the soil with the air spade will not only improve water percolation and gases exchange, but when undertaking in conjunction with mulching, nutrient application or soil conditioning can address all three of the issues above and better enable the trees to deal with the stress disease and decay so that they can form barriers and produce reaction wood to address their physiological and structural requirements. 

This will also encourage earthworm activity as well as other soil-based fauna, better water retention, better insulation and slow nutriment, release as the dead organic material is broken down.


There are various reasons why it may be beneficial to use an air spade around the base of trees. 

Soil compaction has a negative effect on tree health because it prevents the flow of nutrients and water through the root system. Many factors can cause compaction, such as construction and foot or vehicle traffic.

We can also include mulching, nutrient application or soil conditioning at the same time to further improve and maintain the condition of trees.


Arbor Cultural Ltd also provides air spading as an investigative service to find out exactly where the main roots of a tree are. This is often necessary for development or foundation designs when work will come close to the Root Protection Area.

While we can provide this service to address planning conditions, we recommend undertaking it as part of the planning application process.

As tree consultancy experts, we often incorporate air spading into comprehensive tree management strategies. This is because the process is considerably beneficial for trees which we have identified as stressed or suffering from decay or degradation, which we assess with tests such as decay detection testing.

We are passionate about promoting an understanding and appreciation for trees across the South of England and strive to help our customers manage their trees in a more sustainable and environmentally conscious way.