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Landscaping Trips - Protect The Trees!

Protect the Trees!

Trees are the Living Foundation of the Landscape. The care taken to choose the correct tree for the space, and the time and money to properly plant, prune, irrigate and maintain a tree adds up to a big investment over time. The return on this investment is realized in a microclimate of beauty, shade and cooler temperatures for other plants, humans and wildlife, higher property values and attractiveness for customers, clients and end users.

Trees Need Protection During Construction. Nearby construction and repair are often necessary or desired after a tree is established. Unfortunately, often trees are an afterthought and not enough care and protection is provided during construction. Avoidable expenses ensue after the project has been completed because of subsequent tree failures.

Here are a few steps to make sure your tree is protected during a construction project:

  • Develop a protection plan prior to construction.
  • Create a barrier around the tree using the formula 1.5’ for every inch of DBH, Diameter at Breast Height, or 4.5’ off the ground.
  • Do not allow construction crews or equipment access to this protected zone.
  • Limit foot traffic and vehicles from driving over the root zone, which can compact soil and limit air availability to the roots.
  • Place signage around the tree instructing crews not to enter the protected zone.
  • If trenching or digging is required within the protected zone, consider hiring a professional who can ‘air trench’ the area, which greatly reduces the damage to the root zone.
  • If roots must be removed, limit removal to roots outside of the protected zone or smaller than 4” in diameter within the protected area. Removing larger roots will likely have a negative impact on the tree’s health.
  • Any cuts made to the roots should be done with sharp tools to encourage wound closure.
  • If irrigation is temporarily shut off, ensure supplemental water is given to the tree regularly to help reduce drought stress.

It is important to budget tree protection care during any construction project to help conserve and protect established trees on the property.  Convey the significance of the tree and why it is important to protect the growing space to any hired professionals on the job, and have a plan in place if the tree does sustain damage during the project.