Author: George Kinsela
Spring is the most popular time of the year for construction projects. New houses, additional driveways or building new additions to your home – all of these construction projects have potential to harm surrounding trees. Often these projects involve removal of trees within close vicinity, however there may be trees present on the construction site that are worthy of preservation. In order to minimise the risk of tree damage and retain valuable trees on the property, remember to assess soil conditions, landscape and tree species present. For the most reliable advice and services hire certified tree and stump removal professionals to assess your yard and be involved in the project from beginning to end.
How trees are harmed during construction.
- Injury to Trunk and Crown
Construction equipment may gouge the bark off the tree, wound the trunk and injure the above ground portion of the tree by breaking branches. Such injuries are permanent and if extensive can be fatal.
- Soil Compaction
Vehicle and equipment movement near trees can damage the soil structure, which is important for holding water, nutrients and air – all necessary for the growth and health of trees. Compacted soil reduces aeration, slows down water movement and causes mechanical resistance.
- Root Damage
The root system is extensive and asymmetric and can be damaged by digging, grading, burning or burial of debris, stockpiling of soil and altering of the water table.
- Tree Thinning
During construction, certain tree branches may need to be removed to create room for the structure. This leaves the tree vulnerable to wind damage and even the entire tree being broken or blow over.
Here are some tips to avoid this damage.
- Ask for Advice
Consult a certified arborist in your area before beginning any construction project. They can help you assess the overall health and structural integrity of trees and suggest measures to preserve and protect them. Arborists also advise which trees are more sensitive to compaction, grade changes and root damage. If you do not involve arborist, it is possible that trees will be damaged and ultimately die, leaving behind unsightly tree stumps and tree stump removal requires spending more money.
- Plan Ahead
Just a little upfront planning can limit potential damage later in the construction project. Once you have scheduled the project, take inventory. Note all the trees on your property, including their age, health and location. Sometimes small changes in the placement or design can make a great difference in saving the tree.
- Erect Barriers
To help minimise the risk of damage to the trees, set up sturdy fencing around the trees you wish to preserve. Take note that the fencing should be installed as far as possible from the tree trunk to provide above and below ground protection. Additionally, instruct construction workers to keep fencing intact and the area clear of building material, debris and excess soil.
- Limit Access
If possible, allow only one access point for construction workers and materials on to the property. All the workers should be instructed where they are permitted to drive and park their vehicles. Specify the areas for equipment, soil and debris.
- Maintain Communication
Communicate your objectives clearly to your arborist, builder and all contractors. Also visit the construction site regularly to ensure that the workers are adhering to your specifications. Your vigilance will pay off as workers take your instructions seriously. Take photos of every stage of construction.
Careful planning and communication with the people involved in the construction process is the key to avoiding tree damage.