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Keeping Trees Safe From Construction

Keeping Trees Safe: How to Protect Them From Construction and Landscaping Projects

Landscaping and construction activities can be disastrous for trees, potentially causing snapped branches, wounded trunks, and damaged roots. This leaves them weakened, exposed to insect infestations or disease issues – not to mention no longer stable after the project has been completed.

While it’s always best to address problems before they arise, you can take precautions with your landscaping project by planning for the safety of your trees prior to getting started. This will make sure that not only do your treasured plants remain healthy and vibrant, but also the overall landscape. Taking this step is key in ensuring everything goes smoothly!

Before any work commences, conduct an extensive assessment to ensure successful outcomes.

To accurately measure the condition of your trees before any construction begins, it is important to thoroughly document them. Start by numbering each tree and noting its position on a sketch or drawing of the property.

Make sure you take photographs from various angles that capture:

  1. Its environment;
  2. The root flare at ground level;
  3. Its drip line;
  4. And its trunk and branch structure.

Additionally, be sure to photograph any existing damage or disease that might already be present in order to have visual evidence for comparison afterwards.

Get A Tree Valuation

If you possess valuable or historical trees, or simply vigorous and mature ones, investing in a tree valuation inspection prior to construction may be beneficial. Through this process a monetary value for the tree will be calculated, as well as its replacement cost should something unfortunate occur. When it comes to landscaping and building projects that involve existing trees from the start; planning ahead of time is essential if you wish to protect them throughout the entire course of development – before, during and after site construction.

Common Types Of Tree Damage From Construction

Just like an iceberg, trees are much more than what you can see above ground; their extensive root network beneath the soil is how they get water, oxygen and necessary nutrients. Additionally, these roots serve as an anchoring system that enables them to withstand high winds and storms.

Unfortunately however, all parts of a tree- both underground and above- may be at risk from construction projects. To ensure your trees stay safe during any building works in progress it’s essential to have a plan for protection in place before work begins!

Tree Root Damage

Tree Trunk Roots 1

The roots of a tree are its lifeline and can sustain serious damage in construction sites. Feeder roots take up food and water while anchoring ones secure the stability of the whole tree.

It’s essential to safeguard these root systems as they extend far beyond what we see above ground; hence, monitoring this potentially large area is critical for proper protection during building work.

Constructive activities that are known to harm tree roots include trenching for utility or irrigation lines, re-grading soil for drainage of new paving which often reveals root systems and severs them, excavating earth around the roots for footings or foundations, as well as tilling the land where your trees stand in order to build flower beds or lay sod. To protect your trees from these destructive procedures you must be aware and employed precautionary measures while completing such tasks.

Prior to beginning your construction project, create a plan drawing which includes both existing trees and any proposed excavation, trenching, or re-grading. This document will assist you in determining where the most suitable protection methods should be employed while also ensuring that each tree is sufficiently protected with an ample area around it.

Damage To Tree Branches And Trunks

On busy construction sites, the chances of a truck, excavator, cherry picker or other heavy equipment coming into contact with an existing tree is high. The impact between tree and machinery often results in damage to both the trunk or branches at ground level and/or within its crown; unfortunately for trees this almost always leaves them worse off than before.

Furthermore, any tears or gouges can expose their vulnerable interior to pests and diseases – two very serious problems that take considerable effort from the tree itself to seal up these wounds internally. Broken limbs too will require corrective pruning if they are not already ripped away completely by the initial collision.

What Do You Do?

Prior to commencement of any construction, it’s wise to prune or eliminate any hanging low-hanging and wide-reaching branches that could impede with the building process. It is much better and more cost effective to cleanly remove a branch before destruction occurs than attempting later on to repair an already broken one. To ensure your tree’s safety in or around the construction site, install visible tree protection around its trunk; this will indicate for crews notifying them from staying away from it.

Compaction Of Soil

While soil compaction is an often-ignored contributor to tree damage, it should not be overlooked. Heavy vehicles and material staging areas can quickly compact the soil, with wet or saturated soils intensifying the problem even more. Compacted soil squeezes particles together and renders roots unable to expand further; diminishing oxygen in the ground while hindering water from entering its surface – a fatal combination for established trees alike!

What Do You Do?

Before you begin construction, ensure that the vehicular paths and staging areas are properly laid out with perimeters flagged. Then construct a 6-inch layer of organic mulch or straw over these routes and top it off with robust coverings such as plywood sheets or steel road plates to evenly distribute weight across a greater area of soil, thus decreasing compaction. Additionally, build any other protective measures necessary like fencing and tree enclosures during this time period for maximized security.

Changes To Soil Levels

The uppermost foot of soil contains a majority of the roots and essential nutrients, water, and air needed to sustain your tree. Piling additional soil over the surface can be fatal because it suffocates root systems by preventing them from obtaining oxygen. On the other hand, removing topsoil will lead to their demise as they would become exposed directly to air. Therefore it is clear that these two processes have drastically different effects on trees’ wellbeing.

What Do You Do?

When it comes to any construction project that involves the redoing of footings, foundations, driveways or paving at your site – always be aware of existing trees. Speak up about any worries you have regarding preexisting trees when designing your project with a designer or contractor; this will help make sure they incorporate tree protection into the design’s parameters. Pre-construction check if plans accommodate for as much root space as possible and also bear in mind slight changes to the current grade can harmfully affect your foliage. If soil extraction is called for, make certain newly exposed land is immediately covered by something waterproof like a tarp and kept hydrated too!

Changes Shade Levels Due To The Sun

You cannot always prevent construction or demolition projects from obstructing the sunlight that your trees need, but you can take proactive measures to keep your trees healthy. This will give them a better chance of adapting successfully to their new environment and minimize any adverse effects.

What Do You Do?

Prior to the commencement of construction, take precautionary steps in order to protect local trees. Tree barriers should be set up around any affected vegetation as well as a layer of wood mulch covering their drip line – this will help keep soil temperatures consistent and limit water evaporation. In hot conditions, maintain an irrigation system for your trees to avoid heat and moisture stress. Pruning is strictly prohibited unless essential for safety reasons; additionally, stay away from high-nitrogen fertilizers which can stimulate leaf growth when plants are under pressure.

Things to Do During the Construction

It is crucial to routinely inspect the construction site and guarantee that your tree protection policies are being observed and upheld. Each subcontractor should understand your tree safeguarding processes, while the general contractor must arrange all projects activities to avoid compromising existing trees.

If you’re planning to do landscaping and construction projects, here are a few things that should be considered and done:

  • Before beginning any project, make sure that all trees are adequately protected! Securely set up protective enclosures around each tree’s root system to the best of your ability; a standard perimeter is usually at the “drip line” but in this situation more expansive coverage is recommended. If you spot any signs, flags, fencing or stakes removed or damaged during construction – act immediately and demand they be fixed right away!
  • Clear away debris – Haul off debris on a regular basis to maximize valuable space. Don’t let it pile up around living trees or store it temporarily in any way.
  • To avoid soil compaction and preserve free space, all material storage and staging areas should be cleared immediately following the completion of each phase or subcontractor’s work. Additionally, inspect materials that could spill, dissolve or leach into the ground to ensure they are securely stored in order to protect trees from any potential damage.
  • Constantly monitor your trees to ensure that all work is being done correctly and with tree-friendly tools, like air spades. If any trenching or excavation needs approval from authorities, make sure the soil volume is replenished promptly after it’s accepted. Take proactive measures to protect your trees!
  • Make sure everyone is on the same page – Ensure that all crew members understand how essential it is to protect trees.
  • Document any tree damage extensively – Write down or photograph any harm done to trees when you spot it and make certain your contractor knows about it as well. Any corrective work should be completed promptly, followed by a thorough assessment of each damaged tree.

Now that the project is finished, what should you do next?

Once all construction is complete, it’s time to review the area and document any modifications or damage that may have been brought on by building activities. Comparing finished conditions with previous “before” photos will confirm what was already existing and any new elements.

It’s important to ensure your trees are in top condition by performing the following checks:

Ensure that all construction materials and debris has been effectively removed, paying close attention that any concrete fragments aren’t left behind as they can affect soil pH. Additionally, confirm the correct function of new irrigation systems or water pipes for possible leaks which could overly saturate tree soils. Finally, make sure excess excavation soil hasn’t been dumped around your tree trunk flare – if so it should be cleared straight away to avoid root damage!

Follow ups After The Construction

After construction is over, keep a close watch on the health and well-being of your trees to guarantee their seasonal trends are still following normal patterns. Should you observe any signs of reduced energy or stress in them, don’t hesitate to phone an arborist quickly to carry out an inspection.

To ensure your trees are healthy post-construction, consider prioritizing them with equal levels of irrigation and mulching around the base. Additionally, to provide long-term nutrients for growth, add a layer of composted soil. With this extra care, you can guarantee that your trees will continue to thrive in their new environment!

Keep an eye out for any harm that may have occurred to your trees and address it quickly if you notice anything. This can include: deep scratched or stripped bark, pruning cuts done to accommodate a specific project, or even just the general look of the tree which could indicate its roots were disturbed in some way. Some trees take longer than others to bounce back from such trauma but with care they will often regain their prior vitality eventually and grow healthily for many more years!

With a little extra effort, together we can ensure that both you and your trees come out of the construction project unscathed, with an even more alluring landscape than before. Here’s to healthy, stable structures and stunning greenery! Read more tree articles on our blog! Also make sure to check out our homepage for some awesome stuff!

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